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Inform them about your processes, such as releases of new products and promotions, and listen to their concerns. Invest in supplier management software to keep track of information about your suppliers in one place.


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You can even go further and install advanced purchase order management software, which you can use to create, process, and track purchase orders with your suppliers. If for any reason you cannot make the payment on a date agreed, then inform the supplier as soon as possible with the date on which they can expect the payment. Suppliers like timely payments just like you like timely action on their side.

It really is that simple. Make them your partner.

Webinar on Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)

If you appreciate their work, let them know. Nothing is better for growing your profits than getting a quality service or materials for the right price. You can buy in bulk and get better pricing but you will have more stock on your balance sheet, or you can arrange to pay a vendor earlier in order to get a bigger discount. Sometimes its better to pay a little more because the supplier is giving you a better service which pays for itself because you need to provide less time to manage them, or because they can be trusted to deliver directly to your customer.

If you are buying from a vendor on a regular basis, Supplier Relationship Agreements are a must. Write down everything that both parties expect from your partnership such as Item or Service Description, Price, Delivery Terms, Payment Terms, Communications, and so on, and then have both parties sign it. This can be a simple or complicated document depending on your business requirements.

What does Supplier Relationship Management mean?

A well-documented Supplier Relationship Agreement will reduce the possibility of confusion or disputes. Always evaluate the risks of dealing with a supplier, especially if you have a complex supply chain. Ask for references, examples of their previous work, years in business, areas of expertise, how they deal with a crisis, what they did the last time they had to deal with a crisis, and so on. Are they competitively priced?

Do they have the right experience? Do they have the capacity to deal with your orders? Are they financially stable? These are just some of the questions you should be asking. In business, things go wrong, by evaluating your vendors risk profile in tandem with a good Supplier Relationship Agreement, you can mitigate the risks and be ready to deal with any emergencies in partnership with your vendors, which can help minimize interruptions to your business.

Create a documented process that will help guide your team through the management and administration of suppliers. In a large organization this can include Flowcharts, SOPs, Policy Documents and agreements, or simply a 2 to 4 page document that covers all of the points of agreement for you and the vendor. Make sure that all the steps are followed and that documents are signed off when completed. As the world becomes ever more connected, we increasingly find ourselves dealing with vendors that are further afield, either across the country or across the globe.

Every city, state or country has different rules, laws and terminology. For example Vendor is more commonly used in the USA while Supplier is the more frequently use term in Britain, in Brazil and many south American countries, every document must be stamped physically on receipt. Attitude toward work always varies from culture to culture, so be aware of this and make sure that you are ok with this. You should also consider differences in currency, VAT rates, and other financial differences. Finally, take into account the time zone differences, i. Having a Supplier Relationship Management Process is important but getting everyone in your organization on board is critical.

Most supply professionals view SRM as an organized approach to defining what they need and want from a supplier and establishing and managing the company-to-company or procurement-to-sales link to obtain these needs. Even when there is no conscious procurement-to-supplier's sales link, there still are practices and processes in play — informal as they might be. Formal or not, academic and consulting company research shows that organized approaches to supply and suppliers produce positive sourcing results. This document presents why SRM is useful. It shows key observations and learnings from its use.

Common key SRM elements are presented.


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An SRM application maturity model was developed to show the simple to more complex applications. And, it concludes with where leaders tend to go beyond the more typical SRM model.

10 best practices you should be doing now

What is the Need? Failure comes from applying a tool without having a context or purpose. So, the first step in SRM is to define the sourcing need for it. Common ones are:. There are more, and observation of seasoned supply professionals shows that the need and thrust of interaction with suppliers can and does change. Many said that once the main SRM goal was attained with a supplier, they moved on to others in layered progression.

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Some have said that the flux in markets and among suppliers causes shifts in emphases to have to be applied even from one period to the next. Which Suppliers? In Dynamic Times.


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SRM is often brought into play when a looming sourcing issue or opportunity arises. In current times there is concern of supply price inflation from an economic boom and growing middle classes in China, India, and other developing countries. Too, demands upon a shrunken manufacturing capacity base in the developed world, or weakened financial condition of many companies, causes worry about continuity of supply. SRM is useful in taking initiatives with upcoming needs and the condition of the supply markets that can reap rewards of problem avoidance.

Types of Relationships. Cavinato's research revealed approximately different forms of formal and informal relationship links between buyers and suppliers. Each one is a relationship supply chain. These roughly group into the following eleven relationships, listed from none to full integration:. SRM is mostly found with relationship numbers 3 through 6. The emphasis is on identifying performance attributes wanted from the supplier and managing those aspects of the relationship. Opportunity sourcing number 7 is the practice of scanning a supply market without a current need to source. This is a pure-discovery initiative to identify what is out there and determine what might be useful in an innovation or new application.

It is common in high-tech industries as well as high-margin consumer product industries.

10 best practices you should be doing now – Procurement – CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly

Increasingly, supply professionals that have new product revenue as part of their performance metrics visit trade shows and suppliers without an internal requisition waiting back at their desks. Each type of relationship requires different management and leadership and yields different benefits. As one moves from the arm's length price relationship toward joint venture, the linkages become closer, more defined, and the benefits are broader and deeper beyond just price. Internal relationships are just as important as external ones.

With SRM these links are common with operations, logistics, accounting and engineering. Internal ones can work against a concerted effort with a supplier or it can create a strong consistency of purpose. Building Measurements. There are two types of measurements: the targets and the means.