If you run a products-based business, then you likely know how important it is to find the best suppliers. And if by chance, you’ve found great suppliers you realize how hard it was to find them.
But when you’re working with partners that supply necessary raw materials and products it’s important to monitor the relationship and ensure that those you rely on heavily are equipped to “deliver the goods.”
Here are five things to keep in mind while working with suppliers.
1. Set expectations early.
Much of the misunderstandings in business are due to a breakdown in communication. Don’t expect a supplier to read your mind or to understand your business from the onset. It’s your responsibility to clearly outline what you expect in exchange for payment. So, if a supplier is continually not meeting your expectations – and you’ve identified them upfront – it’s much easier to move business to partners who can.
2. Share volume forecasts.
One way you can help your new partners is to share a quarterly forecast of the anticipated volume you intend to bring them. Be conservative in your estimates and base them on historical sales data – ideally the same period versus year ago.
Sharing data will put your supplier in a better position to help you meet your business need and cut down on elongated lead times.
3. Put everything in writing.
You’ll have quite a few informal conversations with suppliers. Some will even promise you the world. It sounds nice. But not everyone delivers on their promises and you’ll learn this the hard way if you don’t put all of your terms in writing.