Having good relationships with vendors and suppliers is essential for businesses. Having these relationships is critical to a healthy business, and it can help your entire organisation remain more productive and profitable. Having these relationships be positive should be considered a crucial part of your business strategy because it will allow you to get the most efficiency and benefits for your money.

Some of the other benefits of strong supplier relationships include the mitigation of risks, cost reduction, more administrative efficiency, and you can avoid the time and money that must be spent onboarding new vendors if an existing relationship doesn’t work out.

The following are some simple ways to make sure you have healthy, thriving supplier relationships.

1. Automate Invoicing

If your accounts payable department is still doing things the old-fashioned way or is using an inefficient invoicing and payments system, it’s not just problematic internally. It can also lead to things slipping through the cracks or long payment wait times that will frustrate vendors. Ensure that you find an eInvoice system that will allow you to maintain and pay supplier-generated invoices and files quickly and easily through automated routing. Essentially, paying vendors on time is the number one thing you can do to keep your relationship functional and mutually beneficial.

2. Be Face-To-Face Occasionally

When you’re working with suppliers you probably are only emailing back and forth as your primary form of communication, but talking face-to-face is important, and it’s an essential part of having a good relationship. If your supplier is local, try to have lunch or a meeting every once in a while. If you can have that personal relationship with them, they’re more likely to want to meet your expectations. If your supplier isn’t local, try Skyping them or least catching up on a phone call.

3. Ask For Input

You may not even realise just how many ideas a supplier might be able to offer you about new product development or new ways of doing things. If you’ve been working with them for a while, they have an intimate knowledge of your business and industry, and their feedback can be invaluable regarding potential innovation. Asking for input from suppliers has the added benefit of making them feel like you value them, which is good for your overall relationship.

4. Be Clear With Your Expectations

You may not want to seem overbearing with your vendors so instead of being concrete with expectations, timelines, and budget, you may try to come off as more relaxed. That can actually damage the relationship you have with your supplier, however. They’re in business just like you, and the more clarity you can provide them, the smoother you relationship is likely to be. Create definitive goals and expectations, and they’ll appreciate it.

As a final note, if there are problems or issues, don’t start blaming your supplier. There will always be a few situations where problems arise, and if you blame your provider they’ll become resentful, and that’s more likely to breed future problems. Instead, work on figuring out why the problem happened and how it can be prevented in the future.