5 Ways to Improve Vendor Relationships

You use your vendors to supply the products or services that your organization needs to function. It doesn’t matter if you refer to them as suppliers, wholesalers, importers, or distributors. What’s important is that you recognize their role in your operations and how beneficial it is to maintain good relationships with them. Here are five ways to improve vendor relationships.

1. Appoint a supplier relationship manager

A supplier relationship manager does much more than evaluate vendors to determine whether the products or services are contributing to the company’s success. The supply relationship manager also develops strategies to improve performance and continuity. As the person in frequent communication with vendors, they play a vital role in ensuring the relationship is productive and effective. Therefore, the person appointed as the supplier relationship manager should be someone who demonstrates the ability to cultivate trusting and strong working relationships.

2. Don’t segregate on-site vendors from your in-house team

While vendors are contractors and not in-house employees, they shouldn’t be segregated or treated differently. Just because on-site vendors are technically non-employees, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated as part of the team – especially if their roles contribute to the success of the whole organization. With on-site vendors, operation meetings will go much more smoothly if all concerned parties are involved. Not excluding on-site vendors also fortifies trusting relationships, encouraging more open communication and improved collaboration.

3. Demonstrate ethical and honest behavior

From the start, a contract must clearly outline the working relationship with the vendor. Roles and responsibilities should be established, and everyone should understand their contractual obligations. Initially, your relationship may be strictly professional, with no one crossing personal boundaries. But over time, people you work with can become your friends. And vendors may even be included at casual work events such as parties. While having friendly relationships with your vendors is healthy, you should never take advantage. Don’t use your friendship as an excuse not to pay your vendor on time; ask for favors such as free services or unpaid overtime.

4. Communicate regularly and effectively

If you don’t have a supplier relationship manager dedicated to maintaining vendor relationships, leadership should communicate regularly and effectively with vendors. Take the time to have face-to-face discussions, even over a video conference. If there are issues or challenges, avoid addressing them via email, which can lead to more conflict.

5. Keep your vendor contact data clean

Every aspect of the vendor lifecycle relies on having correct contact data. The consequences of having incorrect contact data cost your organization time, money, and opportunity. Ensure you’re maintaining clean vendor contact data so that you’re always successfully reaching your vendors.

With CLEAN_Vendor, we optimize your ability to source and retain vendors. CLEAN_Vendor will update your vendor contact data which includes: phone, email, postal address verification, geocoding, and even tell you if the address is residential or commercial to prevent fraud.

To learn how we can help you and your business, complete the contact form.