The Importance of Strong Vendor Relationships: From Peace of Mind, to Cost Savings.

Ever found yourself wondering whether your current vendor is the right fit for you, or if shopping those services or products around would be worth your while?

Everybody is looking to save a buck to help their business grow, but not everybody looks at the big picture when making decisions regarding their vendors. When looking at vendor relationships, there are a few key points to consider to ensure you have found the best relationship for your business. Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself to see if you have found the partners your company deserves.

  1. Am I happy with the product my vendors provide? All too often, sacrifices are made for cost and convenience. You know the look and feel you want your brand to have, and your vendors need to be working with you to bring that to life. If you are having to re-impress upon your vendors the importance of the role they play, it might be time to look at other options.
  2. Are my vendors reliable? Getting a perfect product from your vendors is great, but not if you can’t count on when you will be able to get it. Having your vendors respectful of your time can be the difference between smooth sailing and losing sales.
  3. Are my vendors in this for the long haul? To stay relevant, you need to grow and change with your industry, and your target demographic. A good vendor will want to know your short and long term goals. They should want you to be successful almost as much as you do. If you find yourself being treated as a number, or just another customer; you might not be as supported as you think. The last thing you want to worry about is changing your vendors every time your business grows and risk limiting your growth due to vendor issues.
  4. Do I enjoy calling my vendors? This might seem like an odd one, but your vendors are in your critical path when it comes to supply chain. If you look forward to calling a vendor, chances are they look forward to hearing from you. Aside from making day-to-day operations more enjoyable, this comes in very handy when things go wrong. We all try to run our businesses smoothly, but there are always unavoidable issues. The vendor that looks forward to hearing from you is going to work harder to make sure you are happy. Rush orders, lost shipments, and quality issues become much easier to resolve with a dedicated partner.

Last, but not least is of course the bottom line. Everyone wants the best vendors, but no one has money to waste. When figuring cost savings, make sure you are giving yourself credit for what your time is worth. If you are spending an extra 10 hours a month dealing with a problem vendor that is saving you $50 a month, are you really coming out ahead?

Be conscious of your time and energy, and don’t be afraid to delegate where appropriate. When you have the right vendors, they should always be part of the solution, not the problem.