Originality is one of the main ways to get ahead in business. You may have unique business ideas coming out of your ears, but when you start to delve deeper into the process, you realise that it’s the traditional approaches that everybody needs to know in order to make headway. When growing your business, there will come a time when you need to work within a supply chain, also known as a vendor. It is a fine art to work with them effectively. But here are a few ways to ensure that you get started on the right foot.
Understand Your Process (As Well As Theirs)
We’ve all got our own ways of working. As original as you want to be in a holistic manner, where it’s employees first and product second, your vendors or suppliers won’t necessarily have the same attitude. You’ve got to adjust yourself appropriately. Remember, because you are part of a supply chain, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are the most important part. It’s vital to get appropriate processes in place, whether it’s the procurement category management process provided by numerous consulting firms, or it’s just about having a firm grip on the structure in-house with organisational software, understanding your process is one thing, but then, we’ve got to understand how they work. This means that we stand a chance of forging a better relationship with them. We can’t get everything we want right away, and there will be times when we won’t be able to pay them the money they need; a little empathy and understanding goes a long way for both sides.
Communication! Nobody’s psychic, and if you are to work with a supplier effectively, it’s important to understand the best methods of communication, as well as the frequency. When we work with a supplier, especially when they are based in another country, communication could be one of the barriers to efficiency. As such, we need to ensure that we are working to their standards and levels, but we also keep them abreast of any changes that we have at our end. Communicating on their terms means that we can keep them sweet, especially if we rely on them to provide us with the goods. Communication is one of those age-old things that can seem to be an overstated benefit to a business, but if you’re not able to communicate with someone across the waters, or you have sheer ignorance for their working practices, it’s not going to end well.
Work With The Right Vendors
Not just in terms of their working processes aligning with yours as closely as possible, but in terms of their ethos. When we work with a supplier in another country, they may be able to do the job, and cheaply, but if they don’t align with our beliefs or values, will these cause problems down the line? It’s far better to have a good feeling about a supplier and make sure that they are able to do 90% of what we can ask of them, and spend the rest of our relationship with them slowly working our way up to 100% compliance.
These three ways will always work wonders. A supplier is an integral component to us. But we have to remember that we are an integral component to them too!
*This is a contributed post