While February is the month of love, there is a bit of Valentine’s backlash with people wondering why is it that we need a special day to cherish our partners when we should be showing our love and gratitude for them all year long.
Certainly, we should be mindful of our partners 365 days of the year but life’s minutia can get in the way, and we can start taking our partners for granted. So it’s nice to have a day where we can focus solely on our partner and take stock of our relationships.
Just like we can end up taking our romantic partners for granted, as procurement professionals, we can let our busy schedules make us forget our significant others: our beloved suppliers!
But it’s never too late to remember that supplier relationships need to be nurtured as much as our romantic ones. So here are seven tips for nurturing good supplier relationships.
The opposite of love isn’t hate, but indifference, which might be a bigger relationship killer than hate. Of course, hate in a relationship is destructive, but people who hate each other still think about each other. They are aware there is a problem and are likely to be doing something to correct it.
But indifference is the silent killer. You think everything is okay but is it really? How can you be sure if you are ignoring your relationship? Maybe you won’t know there is an issue until something happens. It doesn’t even have to be anything that drastic, just small non-communications that end-up costing your organisation in the long run. So don’t ignore your suppliers.
You are busy; your supplier is busy so when you do touch base with them, take the time to listen. Let them give you an honest evaluation of the state of your relationship. Listen to them even if they are telling you things you don’t want to hear. You can only have a strong relationship if you listen!
At the end of the day, the relationship between supplier and procurement is transactional. So if the supplier is delivering the goods and services on time, we should also be good partners and pay our bills promptly. Money is one of the leading causes of divorce because while money can’t buy happiness, the absence of money can cause untold misery. If we are the cause of anxiety in our supplier, we are not going to be a relationship our suppliers cherish. So pay the bill and save your partner unnecessary pain and anxiety!
One of the reasons for Step 2 is that if we don’t listen, we won’t know the true capabilities of our supplier. Our partner is who they are, and the worst thing we can do in a relationship is, have an image of them in our head that is unrealistic.
So listen, observe and don’t just hear and see what you want to. See what is actually in front of you. Once you are properly in touch with reality, you can build a relationship on realistic expectations. That is the kind of the relationships that last!
You have your issues, and your supplier has their issues. There are bound to be situations where the conflict is inevitable unless someone compromises. You could be the type of procurement officer that always has to be right. But you are unlikely to build a good relationship by always picking battles and forcing others to compromise or worse, just give in. You need to prioritise and only pick battles that are truly worth it. Remember, your supplier is your partner, not an adversary who has to be defeated at all costs all the time.
Our romantic partners are human beings with dreams and aspirations of their own. If you ignore that, your relationship is likely to suffer. The same is true of your supplier. They have their own goals, their own aspirations and they will always value a client who acknowledges their aspirations and works with them to accommodate those aspirations. Our romantic partners love it when we support them, and so do our suppliers!
Last but not least, show your suppliers that you love them and you are about your ongoing relationship. We doubt you’ll show your supplier love with red roses or fancy dinners, but we at Comprara hope that you will find some way to show your suppliers love this Valentine’s Day!
Our Supplier Relationship Management dashboard gives you a quick view on how you are tracking with your suppliers. This is important because:
a) How we govern our suppliers manages our risk and
b) How we trust our strategic suppliers drives value.
Your dashboard will give you a health rating on both governance and trust, and measures important attributes such as:
Our Supplier Relationship Management workshop aims to further develop capability in improving the outputs and outcomes from the management of relationships with strategic suppliers, and strategic contracts. Attendance will build capability in managing strategic suppliers and contracts, and designing and managing effective improvement programs. As well as this, participants will gain three key benefits from attending:
Our Supplier Relationship Management e-Learning Courses include:
A) Supplier relationship analysis
B) Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), part I
C) Supplier Relationship Management, part II
Relationship analysis, the tools: