How to Maintain Strong Supplier Relationships

By Hans Ziebeck, Director of Purchasing at Beacon Purchasing – News from Beacon

When it comes to working with suppliers, strong relationships are at the heart of everything. Building foundations between yourself and your supplier can prove hugely beneficial to both parties: The level and quality of the relationship will determine how well you are able to implement effective reciprocal business strategies, with the aim of creating value within both parties P&L’s. But, how can this be achieved? Follow some simple steps and reap the benefits.

You had me at hello

In order to create effective long-term relationships with your suppliers, it is essential for all parties to understand each other’s business goals, in order to define the activities within a relationship. The mutual understanding of each other’s targets and aspirations are vital to building up the framework of any joint business plan. The importance of thorough research really cannot be overstated, as the first step to ensuring that you have a successful supplier relationship is to achieve an in-depth understanding on how you can both work together to achieve the best results.

Maintaining relationships for the long-term

The relationship is established around a joint set of goals and targets that are established from the outset. The longevity and quality of the relationship sets its foundation around the agreed measures of the business goals and the frequency and accuracy of how each party is judging their respective performance around these measures. It is important that each party has a transparent and honest approach to this, and shares the ability to question themselves when one or both parties are deviating from the agreed targets.

Once the joint goals and measures are established, the human side of the relationship is not to be under-estimated. To build effective personal relationships, you should aim to ensure your voice is heard, but also that you listen effectively. This can be very difficult in a competitive market, however a strong personal relationship can assist with this, especially when working as a small business. Whether that is simply asking how someone’s weekend was, or remembering a previous detail they have shared with you, being yourself will build a more meaningful, long-lasting working relationship.

What’s more, by maintaining and developing the relationship with your supplier on a personal level, you are able to position yourself ahead of the competition and act as their first point of call for any enquiries that they may have, putting your business at an advantage.

It’s all about trust

The strongest types of relationships are built on trust, making it an essential component in working with your suppliers. A trusting relationship has the power to create honest and transparent conversations and with this, the two parties can engage in open conversations and healthy debate, to reach an optimal solution for everyone and a mutually beneficial relationship. Once this honesty and trust is established, it also has the potential to open up more opportunities and turn the focus towards revenue generation operations, whilst also creating an ethical way of working.

Communication is key

By keeping things simple and delivering clear and concise messaging, you are able to further grow those levels of trust. Alongside this, it is also important to not overpromise your suppliers, but instead deliver, to the best of your ability, on what has been discussed and agreed.

By being honest, clear and concise, you are also able to position yourself as a reliable partner, which can help to encourage future work opportunities and place you ahead of any competition.

Here at Beacon, we are focussed on creating long-lasting, successful relationships. Aiming to work with other organisations to deliver a transparent and open relationship will help to deliver revenue, and in turn, will work better for them and for you. It is important to view the relationship as a team, and really work together to understand each other’s wants and needs, before creating a solution effectively and efficiently together.

For more information about Beacon please visit or follow Beacon on Twitter @Beacon_YPP.


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