As the old adage goes, there are two sides to every story. So let’s define both sides of supplier relationships:

  1. B2B Customers
  2. Suppliers

Miscommunication occurs between these two sides. What a B2B Customer representative said and the Suppliers’ representative interpreted it to mean can often be two different things. However, if we can take the time to document what is required and what is provided, then we can begin [hopefully] to reduce the risk of miscommunication. So how can we begin to document both sides of supplier relationships?

You’ve likely been in a performance review when a supervisor asks the critical question: “How would you rate your work?” This is a trick question, right? You don’t want to rate yourself so highly that you appear egotistical. You also don’t want to rate yourself so low as to cause your supervisor to wonder why you’re on the payroll. But if we take the time to pause, consider the effort we made, the time we gave to the project or job roll, we may find a truthful response. It’s this response that cannot only help us identify what worked but also what we would do differently in the future.

Feedback makes us better.

In a Cambridge University Press article, author Bob Dignen suggests five reasons why feedback is the most important communication skill we can cultivate both as a student and a professional. Dignen’s five reasons for this assertion are as follows:

Feedback is …

  1. there all the time
  2. just another word for effective listening
  3. an opportunity to motivate
  4. essential to develop performance
  5. a way to keep learning

In his last reason, “Feedback is a way to keep learning,” Dignen writes:

“The only way to make sure we don’t continue making the same mistakes is to get feedback. Invest time in asking and learning about how others experience working with you — ‘What do you like about the way I work and what don’t you like?’ You might find it tough to listen to others’ sometimes ill-founded opinions about your behavior. But it is what it is; an opinion and not a fact. And if people are thinking it, you may not need to accept it, but you need to manage the perception by explaining more about what you do and why you do it the way you do. It takes time, of course, but probably saves time in the long run — with greater mutual understanding comes greater speed to market.

When it comes to supplier-customer relationships, feedback is as essential tool in the supplier relationship management (SRM) toolkit. In practice, SRM creates close and collaborative relationships with suppliers in an effort to discover additional value while reducing the risk of failure. Feedback plays a significant role in SRM.

Read any number of articles on building strong supplier relationships and you’ll see the same old tactics. Pay on time. Set clear goals. Be friendly. You’ll also notice these articles were written in 2010 and 2011; and while the world hasn’t changed tremendously in the past five years, technology has.

In conjunction with “understanding mistakes happen” and “realizing suppliers have other customers,” organizations today need to proactively seek feedback in order to continually improve their supplier relationships. By utilizing technology that allows feedback to be gathered quickly and anonymously, organizations have the ability to obtain insights on the fly. This can help improve process, communication and performance.

getSayDo helps customers and suppliers engage and align their goals and responsibilities through feedback. It’s what makes getSayDo customers happy and profitable.

Interested in learning more? Let’s talk.