Laying the Foundation for a Fruitful, Mutually Beneficial Client-Supplier Partnership

 In Blog, News, Supplier Management

All too often, we view our supplier relationships through a rigid managerial lens, leaving minimal room for a cohesive, collaborative relationship to develop. While this approach does bring with it a sense of stability and security, ultimately it hinders collaboration. The short-term result is a reduction in ongoing, mutual trust and transparency – and the long-term? Well, eventually, the best suppliers choose who they work with…and if you haven’t helped lay the foundations of a fruitful, collaborative partnership, your client-supplier relationship will fail to go the distance. We all want to work with the best suppliers, and if our access to them is reduced, our business will suffer.

Let’s dive a little deeper into how you can transform your approach to supplier relationship management.

Start by establishing trust – mutually, and smartly.

Every successful relationship, from the romantic to the not-so-much, is built on a sturdy foundation of trust.

For the client, identifying and working through any potential issues early in the process can help you shape this foundation. Verifying your supplier at the outset using an automated verified supplier network will help propel your relationship forward, and towards a deeper level of trust. By providing your supplier with the ability to manage their own contractual documents during the verification process, you are providing them with the autonomy to contribute to the relationship on relatively equal footing with you early on in the relationship, thus forming the building blocks of a trusting, relationship. And a mutually beneficial one, at that – your own team will save plenty of time they would have otherwise spent performing numerous administration activities.

Though the intricacies may differ, the desire is the same – your supplier wants what you want out of  your verification process – one that makes contractual information easy to view and upload; that readily meets their needs. Meeting these needs will build trust, which will set your relationship on the path towards a transparent, successful partnership.

Solidify the relationship with ongoing transparency.

Transparency is a deceptively obvious facet of an effective client-supplier partnership. On the one hand, we understand that without a two-way, honest exchange of information, the relationship will break down and potentially disintegrate altogether. Yet on the other, in a climate of severe supply chain instability, we must be willing to reshape the lens from which we normally view transparency – otherwise we may lose some valued suppliers down the track.

We want to be made aware, quite swiftly, of a supplier de-registering or ceasing to trade altogether. But we understand that current waters can be murky, unpredictable, and teaming with difficulties not immediately perceptible to the naked eye. A supplier may not be able to immediately inform you about these difficulties. Taking this difficult conversation out their hands, and investing in an automated verification system that can verify your supplier’s status not just at the beginning of the partnership, but throughout it, can bridge the often-tricky nexus between trust, transparency, and collaborative discretion.

The Open Windows Verified Supplier Network ™ (VSN) includes one such tool – a built-in feature that automatically re-verifies suppliers against the Australian Business Register on a nightly basis. Upon detecting any discrepancies, the VSN will notify you via email, allowing you to swiftly engage in a dialogue with the supplier in question. Essentially, the VSN functions inherently to create transparency. By building trust at the outset and facilitating a collaborative environment where autonomy and agility is valued, your client-supplier relationship can become a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership.

More information on Open Windows’ approach to Supplier Relationship Management is available here.

Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.

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