Strong supplier-customer relationships are achieved via an old fashioned but tried and true foundation that includes four important elements:
- Respect. Good relationships are achieved via mutual respect between suppliers and customers. Without it, the relationship is destined to fail.
- Trust. Trust is a two-way street that is cultivated over time and there is no replacement for trust when supplier relationships become strained.
- Mutual benefit. Suppliers and their customers need to provide and receive respective relationship benefits. Without benefits, supplier relationships are shaky because they lack incentives to continue or grow.
- Transparency. Corporate bureaucracy can stifle the flow of information, making direct conversations uncomfortable and even disingenuous; that’s why many organizations are utilizing technology to enable greater levels of transparency. (more on this here)
Executing with Precision
Without these elements, supplier-customer relationships will be unprofitable. Conversely, when respect, trust, mutual benefit and transparency exist suppliers and customers can communicate and execute their intentions with precision.
We all want crystal clear expectations on both sides of the relationship. But the reality is questions will arise regarding the direction of supplier relationships: Is it worth it? Are we happy? And, unfortunately, it takes a lot of time to document the health of supplier relationships, creating more work in an already packed work schedule. Spreadsheets aren’t effective: lengthy and often difficult to understand, spreadsheets undermine the decision making process. Customers need access to information on how their behaviors affect the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of their suppliers. Similarly, suppliers must have insights into when and why their actions miss the mark. Delivery of expectations seems like an easy thing to verify, but the process doesn’t happen often enough.
Better Communication via Technology
Obtaining open and honest feedback is a difficult task for most organizations. Direct conversations are often biased and don’t provide the whole truth. By utilizing innovative technology to document a complete [and candid] story, getSayDo is changing the way suppliers and customers provide feedback.
By understanding why a supplier or customer is not viewed as a partner of choice, businesses can make smarter decisions. Suppliers, for example, can work on areas their customers expressed pain to improve their process and, as a result, reputation. Similarly, managers of supplier contracts (procurement, supply chain, sourcing) can use actionable data to improve their processes and relationships with suppliers.
Strong supplier-customer relationships allow for better communication and increased profits. To learn more about ways to build supplier-stakeholder alignment, read this free ebook.