6 ways to maintain positive relationships with suppliers

Nov 21 - Developing a strong supplier relationship can bring many benefits for companies that rely on receiving goods and resources. Strengthening the connection between customer and supplier can lead to better deals and financial incentives, reduced shipping times, and improved collaboration. A solid bond between you and your supplier can help you work together better to overcome challenges and navigate complex situations together.  Here are some areas to focus on when attempting to create better connections with your suppliers.

1. Remember you are dealing with people, not computers

In the digital age, it can be easy to forget we are dealing with humans and not machines. Getting to know your suppliers and treating them with respect can work wonders when it comes to resolving issues and problems. Building a bit of trust and getting to know the operators, accounting people, and sales reps will help to create a relationship with your supplier that will last longer and make working together much easier.

2. Work on communication skills

It’s a very overused adage that ‘communication is key’ but it really is. Having the right tools and channels in place to build an effective supplier communication network can facilitate a more transparent and productive relationship between supplier and customer, helping to correct mistakes and smoothly iron out errors. Open communication channels make it easier for both organisations to work together, and address operational or financial issues at the source.

3. Adopt a policy of honesty

Establishing the desire for open and honest communication with suppliers should be implemented early on in the relationship. As a two-sided bargain, this will help to keep your company informed of any potential disruption to operations, or ensure that you are alerted should any supply chain issues arise. Likewise, should there be issues that impede delivery or restrict storage then the supplier should trust that they will be notified quickly. 

4. Meet your suppliers where possible

With the increasing reliance on technology, it can speak volumes to take the time to meet your suppliers in person. If it is possible to tour their location or schedule a quick lunch date then it can be advantageous. Business relationships only go so far so if you can develop a healthy and respectful personal relationship it can help to strengthen the professional connection. Asking how the weekend went, or how the kids are doing can bring a new aspect to the relationship that creates trust.

5. Lead by example

It can be easy to expect top quality service, low prices, and fast delivery times, but the qualities that you expect from your supplier should be reflected in your own operation. Working with your supplier to help lower costs across the supply chain network can create a true partnership that benefits both organizations. Establish roles and responsibilities and work together to mitigate risk and regularly review performance. 

6. Invest in your suppliers

As having the right supplier can make or break your business it is worth investing some time and effort into understanding each other business. Knowing your suppliers business operation, challenges, and mission will help you to align your company with theirs. Providing your suppliers with free training or meeting with their key operatives to help them understand your business requirements and processes will yield mutual benefits over the long term. 

Final words

Building a strong partnership with suppliers can create a winning business partnership and improve overall supply-chain efficiency. It can also reveal profitable business opportunities that both businesses may be able to collaborate on. Maintaining a strong bond with suppliers can lead to improvements in service, product quality, and result in substantial cost savings.


If you are interested in learning more about the i2B procure to pay platform, i2B Connect then please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.


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