As a business owner, not only do you have to manage staff, inventory, creditors, and money, you have to also manage your chosen vendors. So many businesses approach this phase of either onboarding new vendors or managing them with a strong or heavy-handed sense of power. The most skilled and accomplished business owners understand that your vendors are only as good to you as you are to them. The relationship must therefore be focused on mutually beneficial circumstances and outcomes.
Vendor management is not just a process of securing the lowest price from your vendors and doing anything you can to get that. The entire process of vendor management involves the skillful communication between reciprocal relationships that become successful for everyone involved. It is true that when it comes to vendors, it is of the highest benefit for both parties to get what they want out of the relationship. They call it a win-win scenario. But, it’s not as easy to make happen as it sounds. It takes a lot of planning, cooperation, and management to have healthy relationships with your vendors.
Vendor management involves some tricks of the trade to help with strengthening the relationships that you have with your vendors. From proper communication to aligning on value, it is so critical to properly investigate your vendors, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and ensure that their reputation is as good as yours. You are only as good as the businesses that you work with so make sure you choose vendors that have high ratings and reviews. Let’s go over some of the most important aspects of vendor management.
Communicate Often and Constructively
You do not need to chat on the phone every day about unimportant things with your vendors. You do need to email them with questions. Make plans and set goals. Share deadlines and updates. And generally make sure to follow up with them to ensure that they understand your expectations. There is a fine line between respecting their time by not bothering them all the time and making sure everyone is in the loop to follow through with scheduled tasks.
Balance Commitment And Competition
It is important to have contracts and understandings with your vendors so that they can rely on your support of them and vise-versa. That means that while you are wanting to make sure they know you are committed to them, they also know that you want fair and reasonable prices and reliable service. That is a balance that needs to be maintained so that each party can feel relaxed and assured that hard work will be rewarded.
Engage Vendors In Key Strategic Session
Collaboration between you and your vendors will ensure that when the job is done, not only the complaints are shared but triumphs as well. By engaging vendors in key strategic planning sessions, they can become more invested in your success and you theirs. Part of building healthy vendor relationships means sharing valuable information, taking and receiving feedback, and setting goals as a collaborative effort.
Build Partnerships For The Long-Term
Effective vendor management leads to investing in your vendors for the longterm. Constantly changing vendors to save a buck here and there ultimately costs you a LOT of money. Like a good marriage, there will be up and downtimes with your vendors. However, if you have some good metrics in place to examine processes and upgrade procedures through the changes, you can find that you’ll be able to enjoy long-term collaborative relationships with your vendors that both you and they value highly. That is is the goal, so keep it in mind.
Mutually Beneficial Relationship
The term win-win is used to express the perfect ideal for working with vendors. You want the carrot to be the same size on both ends so that each party has the motivation to stay in the relationship while protecting it, nurturing it, and allowing it to grow. There should be a good balance between giving away the farm and getting what you need. Trying to strong-arm your vendors for cheaper prices or badger them for discounts will end up alienating them. Be careful to be professional, kind, and understanding while holding your vendors accountable for deadlines and quality.
Align On Value
Lasting relationships are built on value will be more efficient and cost-effective than changing vendors every time a better price comes along. When you build long-term relationships with your vendors, you won’t be so quick to change things up. The cost of changing vendors far outweighs a few bucks here and there that you save when a fancy sale tempts you to change vendors. So take care of your good vendors and value them as you would want them to value you. You’ll notice over time that you can build trust and intimacy by understanding and nurturing these valuable relationships.
Protect Your Brand
It is important to research and choose vendors that are in alignment with the values of your brand. The last thing you need is to have your reputation tarnished by partnering with a company that you later find out has questionable or unethical practices in their skeletal closet. Do your research. Find the best, most reputable vendors with which to partner. Protect your good name by choosing wisely.
What to Expect From Your Vendors?
While you always want to foster mutually beneficial scenarios for you and your vendors, you also have to protect yourself from relationships that can be dysfunctional or unhealthy. There are a few tips for finding the best vendor and holding them to your high expectations. Be willing to look into your management and communication practices to make sure you are being a good partner as well. After all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Be the type of business that vendors want to work with and you’ll attract the highest level of service providers in the process.
An excellent support staff offers 5-star service by maintaining schedules, making deadlines, repairing mistakes, and being accountable without incident. There is a level of professionalism that creates relaxation and friendliness without invading personal boundaries. Attention to detail and follow-through are part of the exceptional service to be encouraged and appreciated.
Efficient Account Management
Efficient account management involves having a point person in charge of making decisions and communicating with clients. It’s like having a personal account manager that understands and handles you and your account skillfully. That kind of personal attention makes you feel important, catered to, and pampered just a bit. You should always know who to call to resolve issues or problems as well as who to hold to task when things go wrong. Also, when you have a dedicated manager for your account, you know who to thank when things go well!
Executive Level Relationship
This really involves the vendor executives regularly meeting with client executives to ensure an effective, ongoing win-win partnership. These executives understand and support the client’s strategic plans and hold the vision with them for seeing it through. You need to know that the company values you, has your back, is working for your benefit, and vise-versa.
Long Term Value For The Investment
Your vendors that have all of the above qualities should also be working for your well-being by never selling you on what you do not need. They should offer long-term value of the things that you purchase from them so that you do not waste your time or your money on things that should last a long time for the investment you made. This is a part of trust-building in the relationship.
Who Is Town Mailer?
Towne Mailer is your trusted bill printing and mailing vendor. We currently help clients all over the United States by providing exceptional bill printing and mailing services for jobs big and small. Our 20-person printing team is highly skilled and professional to offer not only the most beautiful printing quality but the highest level of service that you could imagine. Our mission is to be a long-term partner for all your bill printing and mailing needs, both now and in the future.
Our 7,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility has grown over the last 20 years from our small office to a huge warehouse in Missoula, MT. We pride ourselves on being the best in the business by providing the highest quality of printing and mailing coupled with the most courteous and friendly service. We make it easy to turn over all your printing and mailing to us.
Just reach and give us a call or send us an email. We can walk you through uploading a test document to our server. After that, we will format it and post a proof to review. Once you have approved it, we’ll send it to print and it will be printed and mailed to your customers within 24 hours. Guaranteed. That is our promise to you. Contact Towne Mailer today, for all your bill printing and mailing needs.