6 Tips to Improve Supplier Relationships

6 Tips to Improve Supplier Relationshipsby Yolanda Cowart | Florida PTAC at PCED | December 4, 2018

Government contracting requires you to choose the right suppliers in order for you to deliver quality. This will give you a better chance of securing a contract in the future. After you have identified and chosen your suppliers, there are things you need to consider in order for you to nurture your relationship. Here are six tips to improve your supplier relationships.

  1. Be Proactive

You need to address concerns as soon as they arise as opposed to letting issues pile up. Early and frank discussions with your supplier about their work will build trust and respect, and reduce the chances of serious issues which can affect your work.

  1. Regular Communication

Regular and effective communication will create understanding, which in turn reduces confusion and disagreements. You need to foster a good communication process which involves regular face-to-face meetings. The communication channels should be open and all parties encouraged to give feedback. Always remember that your suppliers also need to be heard, and their issues addressed.

  1. Understand Contractual Obligations

In every supplier relationship and business contract, there are duties for all involved parties. It is important that both you and your supplier understand your obligation to your customers and end users. Understanding your obligations and having clear communication will assist you and your supplier in developing the relationship and helping both of your businesses to grow.

  1. Ethical Behavior

The government expects all its contractors to behave ethically and honestly at all times. Having a good reputation for ethical behavior will not only help you secure government contracts but also help you to get trustworthy suppliers, who also have an ethical code of conduct. This will go a long way in developing and growing your business, as well as your relationship with government contractors and your suppliers.

  1. Seek Professional Advice

There are experts in the field of government contracting that can offer you advice regarding  suppliers in the market. When there are issues that need to be addressed, you can consult business owners who have been in the market before you, consultants in the contracting space, or government resources. It is your duty to understand your industry’s supply chain and know when you will need to seek professional advice in order to avoid issues and manage your supply chain.

  1. Identify and Monitor Risks

It is in your best interest to identify potential problems in the supply chain early so that you can mitigate threats in your contracting business. You cannot manage risks without first identifying and monitoring them. Therefore, work with your suppliers to identify possible risks in your working relationship and the best ways to manage them proactively. More often than not, it is best to identify suppliers that have been in the business longer than you because they can give you pointers on the right supply chain management processes to employ.

Avoiding supply chain management challenges is an essential step for businesses that serve as government suppliers and contractors. Before you enter into a government contract, it is important to evaluate your current supplier relationships to determine if there is room to improve processes, increase productivity, reduce costs, and enhance customer service and satisfaction levels.

Government contracting will require you to build a performance-based system and service delivery approach. As such, having strong supplier relationships should be a critical component of your supply chain management strategies for government contracting.

This Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency.

  • Yolanda Cowart

    Florida PTAC at Pinellas County Economic Development

    Specialty: Procurement, Workforce Development, Human Resources, Organizational Training

    Yolanda Cowart has more than 20 years of experience in public service at the local and municipal levels. Early in her career, she worked as a human resources and relations professional while serving as a liaison to the business community and advocacy groups. Her prior experience includes being a human relations specialist for Lee County Government, and an equal opportunity director for the City of Fort Lauderdale. Her work experience combines human resources with hands-on leadership in workforce development, equal employment opportunity, organizational training, and supplier diversity principles. Cowart earned a bachelor’s in political science and history from Florida State University. She is also a GrowthWheel Certified Business Advisor and a Certified LivePlan Expert Advisor.