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Posted 10th March 2018

5 tips for building good relationships with suppliers

We help 100s of businesses move their goods around the world daily when others won’t. But how is this possible without our own fleet of vehicles our own assets?

It’s simple.  We work with long-term partners and suppliers who operate globally, they benefit from a steady pipeline of work and our customers benefit from a bespoke service that meets their logistics needs.

Chris Roome, our UK operations manager shares his top tips on getting the best from your suppliers and how to build relationships which last.

Chris Roome

  1. Allow them to make some money!

Yes, it’s important to secure competitive costs but don’t forget that suppliers have to earn a living too.

If you never allow them to make anything out of working with you then in the end they won’t bother doing so. Ultimately, doing business successfully depends on treating people fairly and that’s just as relevant to suppliers as it is to customers.

  1. Pay on time

Paying on time not only makes suppliers keen to work with you – it signals sound financial wellbeing and increases their confidence in you as a business partner.

There is nothing that cripples a relationship quicker than not paying on time so don’t abuse payment terms once they’ve been put in place.

This is particularly important in the freight industry as hauliers have no choice than to pay their drivers, fuel providers and vehicle leasing companies on time.

We have always prioritised paying suppliers to terms, even from the first day we opened our doors.

  1. Personalise the relationship

It’s easy to get caught up in emails, but face-to-face contact and phone calls build personal rapport.

Speak to your suppliers to find out how the business is going even if you don’t need to negotiate. Good, honest and clear communication speaks volumes and talking regularly helps to build a trusted relationship.

Share information and keep suppliers aware of what’s going on in your company, update them if your company’s point of contact changes and tell them about special promotions.

Thank them if they do a good job. Tell them if you’re not satisfied.

This also works the other way – we often ask suppliers for updates to ensure the relationship is working for them.

  1. Learn what they need from you

Remember the relationship needs to be mutually beneficial and by treating each other as equal partners, both businesses will experience higher success rates.

We visit our suppliers’ offices so we can get to grips with how their business operates and how we can help.

At Baxter Freight, in many ways we work on our suppliers’ behalf in finding backloads for empty vehicles. It’s like they’ve got a large external sales team. And it’s completely free!

  1. Make their job easier

Try to give your suppliers adequate lead times and as much detail as possible regarding a job and your precise expectations.

For example, in the freight industry, lots of companies will say they need to get a parcel from A to B whereas we’ll say exactly what the load is, how much it weighs and where it needs to get from and to – this obviously makes it easier to quote a job in the first place and to meet our expectations when the job goes ahead.