Four New Tactics for Supplier Engagement
Keeping suppliers actively engaged and excited to work with you is critical. A recent survey showed that supplier engagement was more important to purchasing executives than any other procurement concern, including cost control. Although most businesses have more control in their supplier relationship than they perceive, maintaining goodwill and positive relationships is just good business sense. Keeping your vendors engaged in the value you bring to their business is a critical consideration.
Here are 3 ways to get your suppliers:
Revamp Your “Preferred Vendor” Demographics
Having a preferred vendor program is a simple way to induce loyalty and create goodwill between your business and others. If you haven’t already made such a program a priority, now is the time to start. Finding the right balance for your business can be challenging. But giving suppliers preference doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Sometimes this can be as simple as providing accelerated payment terms. In a highly competitive market, the knowledge that you’ll go to them first can inspire loyalty in vendors. Creating agreements and establishing minimum orders can go a long way in boosting vendor satisfaction—keeping them engaged and your pricing stable.
Make Supplier Enrollment Simple
Online portals accessible to suppliers are hugely popular for submitting invoices and working directly with companies through their own platform. However, not all portals are created equal. If a system is too clunky or time-consuming, your vendors aren’t going to want to use it to follow up on requests–they’ll just send an email. The goal is to keep your online access simple and well-maintained. Having good documentation to help your vendors use it is also critical.
Stay in Touch with Trends
Knowing what’s happening in an industry can be hugely beneficial in understanding potential increases or issues with vendors. Your suppliers are likely to be impacted by the same issues as you when it comes to changing laws or economic trends. Staying aware of what’s going on in the news can help build a good rapport with your suppliers and lend a sympathetic side to your business. Consideration can often be reciprocated in strange ways.
Support Open Events
Competition is tough. There was a time where the only way to stay competitive was to keep the process mysterious and closed off but things have changed. Now, the focus is on getting good data. It’s no surprise. We live in a new age where information is available with just a few clicks. Trying to keep things concealed is no longer viewed as a tactic of good salesmanship but as a potential deception. More and more companies are finding that having open events and competitive auction-style purchasing strategies increases engagements with suppliers across the board. Not only does this give suppliers the opportunity to make their best possible offer, it ends up working your favor more often than you might suspect. Different business units may get different prices or could have been working with different pricing agreements. Taking a transparent approach to procurement takes your decision-making out of the dark and brings in new opportunities.
Keeping vendors happy can be very easy. In the global marketplace and hyper competitive fields, it can be easy to lose sight of the importance in building relationships. But companies are making changes and looking for more than just a bottom line price. Make the right decisions when working with vendors to help your company keep its momentum and purchasing a steady stream.