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Managing Supplier Relationships to make Supply Chains work

Dr Vijay Sangam, 16:35, 03 Mar 2023

Global supplier relations management can be challenging for companies, particularly those that operate in multiple countries and deal with many suppliers. However, effective supplier relationship management (SRM) is essential for maintaining a competitive advantage, minimizing risks, and ensuring the timely delivery of goods and services. In this article, we will explore key global supplier relations strategies. According to Forbes, 47% Of Supplier Collaborations Fail, and according to Charted Institute of Procurement and Supply, Eight in 10 firms suffer supplier failure.

Supplier relationship management (SRM) is a critical component of supply chain management, and failure to manage supplier relationships effectively can result in a range of negative consequences for businesses. For example, a failed relationship with a key supplier can result in supply disruptions, delays in product delivery, poor product quality, and higher costs. These issues can lead to decreased customer satisfaction, lost sales, and damage to a company’s reputation.

  • Establish Clear Expectations and Communication Channels

To effectively manage supplier relations, it is crucial to establish clear expectations upfront and maintain open communication channels throughout the relationship. This includes setting clear performance metrics, timelines, and quality standards. By doing this, suppliers are aware of what is expected of them, which reduces the risk of misunderstandings and ensures that performance is aligned with the company’s needs.

  • Develop Strategic Partnerships

Building strategic partnerships with suppliers is critical to managing supplier relations globally. By developing strong relationships with suppliers, companies can create a sense of trust and commitment, leading to greater collaboration, innovation, and improved performance. Strategic partnerships also enable companies to work with suppliers to identify and mitigate risks, streamline processes, and reduce costs.

  • Regular Performance Reviews

Regular performance reviews are essential for managing supplier relations globally. These reviews enable companies to track supplier performance against established metrics and identify areas for improvement. By sharing feedback with suppliers, companies can work collaboratively to improve performance, enhance quality, and reduce costs. Regular performance reviews also allow one to discuss issues or concerns and take corrective action where necessary.

  • Conduct Site Visits

Site visits are an effective way to manage supplier relations globally. By visiting supplier facilities, companies can better understand the supplier’s operations, quality control processes, and capabilities. Site visits also provide an opportunity to discuss any issues or concerns directly with the supplier, which can help to improve performance and build stronger relationships.

  • Invest in Technology

Investing in technology is critical for managing supplier relations globally. Companies can improve communication, streamline processes, and reduce costs by using tools such as supplier portals, electronic procurement systems, and supply chain visibility platforms. Technology also enables companies to track supplier performance in real time, identify risks, and take corrective action where necessary.

In conclusion, managing supplier relations globally is a complex task that requires careful planning, clear communication, and ongoing collaboration. By establishing clear expectations, developing strategic partnerships, conducting regular performance reviews, conducting site visits, and investing in technology, companies can effectively manage supplier relations globally and ensure the timely delivery of goods and services. By doing this, companies can maintain a competitive advantage and reduce risks in an increasingly complex global business environment.

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