Juggling vendors can be the most stressful part of managing a supply chain. With less-than-perfect communication, dates are missed, shortages occur, lead times change, wrong parts are shipped… Unfortunately, the list of possible mishaps is long and costly, but it doesn’t have to be! If you’ve had a bumpy relationship with your supplier, read on for a few easy ways to fast-track to success:
Set Clear Expectations for Reporting
Develop a clear plan for how to communicate with suppliers at the very beginning of that relationship. Every manufacturer will have systems in place for reporting and order management. First, identify what data you will need from your suppliers, and provide a consistent platform in which your supplier can carry out those expectations. This allows for transparency for both parties and a one location to post updates. Features like a built-in collaboration tool like in-project commenting, are a plus!
Know Your Stuff Before You Contact
It sounds obvious, but unnecessary email volume is a constant burden for supply chain customer service reps! Before you reach out to your supplier, have the PO number, part number, order quantity, lead time and other necessary details at hand. Everyone benefits when you know everything about the items you need to discuss. If you are unprepared when reaching out, you may get a reputation with your vendor for being disorganized and wasting their valuable time, which means your email will get pushed to the bottom of the pile. A little prep beforehand will also ensure you and your supplier aren’t discussing two different parts!
Get to the point
When reaching out, get straight to the point and reference the PO and item numbers in a concise message. Your vendor likely supplies parts to multiple customers and has dozens of calls and emails to handle every day. Having all your ducks in a row will make you their best friend! Present yourself as a business owner who is informed and easy to work with. Brevity with precision will also cut down on unnecessary back-and-forth message frustration and will indicate to your supplier that you mean business— literally.
You Only Need One Great One
Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that the easiest solution to working with vendors is to only work with one! When you buy packaging from us, the supply chain management is built right into the pricing. Working with FPC means one rep to call for everything, and that person has a whole team behind them to source materials, graphic design, place orders, schedule trucks, track shipments, manage inventory and relay all this information to you so you can make effective choices running your business at no added cost. Want to know more? We’re here to chat.