Best Practices for Working with Vendors and Suppliers

Administrative Assistant Resource
September 5, 2012 — 1,743 views  
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Vendor and suppliers are essential when it comes to the operation of
almost any business. Because of that, it is very important to follow certain
guidelines and practices when dealing with them. This will ensure decent prices
and a consistent and professional relationship.

The first thing would be to have the right set of vendors. For any product or
service, there are sure to be a number of different suppliers vying for the
business. Make sure these are well screened and chosen wisely. Look for
customer reviews and talk with past and current clients if possible. When you
are getting a new service, always get at least three different quotes. 

Once a supplier is chosen, an agreement is necessary. Even if this is verbal,
there should still be an understanding when it comes to things such as delivery
and turn-around times, payment terms, and service issues. If both parties are
in agreement to the terms, a decent long-term relationship is possible. 

Keeping track of invoices and deliveries is necessary with any business.
Depending on the company and the software in place, there could be a number of
different methods that are employed. Regardless of the type of organization,
there is a definite need for up to date records when it comes to all of the
vendors. This should include things such as order history, cost information,
payment history and more. 

When a company has been with a vendor for some time, it is easy to get
complacent and not look elsewhere. Be sure to periodically price check the
existing vendors and make sure that they are still competitive with other
businesses. If this is not the case, this could be a good time to renegotiate
with the current vendor. Give them the chance to meet or beat the competition
before moving to another supplier. Being upfront and honest with current
vendors is always best in this situation. They obviously know that there is
competition out there and should work to keep their clients happy and at decent
pricing. 

Even if there are not any changes to the contract, sitting down with the vendor
should be done on an annual basis if possible. These business connections are
important and can provide possible connections to other business opportunities.
Maintaining a strong relationship with all vendors is important. 

Working with vendors and suppliers can be a time consuming and difficult task.
By keeping a few important practices in mind, it is easy to do this well and
create strong business relationships in the process.

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