Your suppliers are critical to your business success. The better you treat them the more they are willing to continue business with you and give you better service or performance than their other customers.
I have found that suppliers give better treatment and pay more attention to a customer’s order (crucial for you) when they get treated fairly.
You think the supplier was just waiting for your business? Think again.
Established suppliers usually have a long queue of customers waiting for them.
They are more likely to give priority to customers where they make more margin, and to ones that are easier to deal with.
In my previous job I had buyers who were very aggressive and tried to squeeze every cent out of the supplier. It was very difficult to handle these buyers and often I couldn’t find a suitable supplier for them. Even after orders were fulfilled these buyers would often come afterwards and try to claim money for a “faulty” product when there was actually nothing wrong. Many times just for the sake of it they would try to get money out of the supplier. This is not the way I work with my factories.
I believe in a fair respectful and trusting relationship with suppliers.
You’ll get what you put in. Want cheap? Get cheap. I guess it all depends on what type of product you are looking for. If you are in for fighting with competitors on Amazon or EbayEbay you are probably looking for the cheapest there is. But don’t be surprised when your products are of poor quality and you get bombed with bad reviews on Amazon/EbayEbay. If you want to stand out from your competition you might as well start with good quality products perhaps at a higher price. Sure, once in a while you look for the absolute price entry product, but be prepared on the quality issues.
Also, I gain nothing from squeezing my supplier out of every cent when he is struggling to fulfill the order and pay his workers. What if I want to place a reorder or need a favor one day? He may not be around anymore and I’ll be stuck.
In times when a supplier is in trouble because of another customer you may want to help him. Say he has produced a lot of product that another customer cancelled. I may even refer some customers to him. Trust me, this kind of relationship is very valuable for you. If you help him he may offer free samples, discounts on your next order, and so on.
I would say there are six rules to having a great relationship with your supplier:
- Make sure there are mutual benefits
- Respect each other
- Be fair to each other
- Trust one another
- Support each other
- Help each other
Having said all that, it doesn’t mean I trust my suppliers blindly. You still need to have a few control mechanisms in place such as inspection, checking reports and certificates he sends, and not easily accepting price increases. If they are reasonable issues they can be discussed but I will sure do my research on the eligibility of his claim.