Simple Marketing Part 9: Supplier Marketing

23 06 2008

You may already do this without realising it, but getting the most from your suppliers is a way of helping you to keep costs down, which in-turn helps your business to be more efficient and ultimately more profitable.

But your relationship with your suppliers need not be all one way. Remember you and your suppliers are both in business so its worth taking time out to talk with your suppliers to see if there are ways you can help each other.

For example, if your supplier delivers once a week to you with a van that’s only half full, would it be possible to have your delivery once a fortnight instead. This would save them fuel costs as it would half the number of deliveries they make to you, and in return you could well negotiate a small discount for buying in bulk.

Your suppliers can also be a good source of information and by talking with them you may get to hear about new opportunities for your business.

Further depending on your sector, there may well be potential for you and a supplier to work together?

So it pays to develop a good working relationship with your suppliers, at the same time these are transactional relationships and it’s important to keep these relationships highly professional because there may come a time when you need to disengage from a particular supplier.

However I do believe that, in the current climate, changing to new suppliers simply because they are cheaper is a potentially risky course of action. Where possible if your really do need to reduce costs at the very least talk with your current suppliers to see if they can do anything in terms of their pricing.
Further do consider very carefully whether the new supplier will be able to deliver to the same quality and on the same terms you have with the current supplier.

I recently in the Financial Times about how the metal casting industry in the UK was winning back orders from China, because in instances the quality and delivery of the products was not acceptable. Sometimes a cheap price comes at a cost.

But overall working with suppliers should be an enjoyable part of running your own business and if your supplier regards you as a good customer, ultimately you will get a better service from them.

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