As a Franchise, you will be required to foster various important relationships if you are centered on growing the business to the next level. One such relationship is with your vendors.
A franchise can’t be fully self-sufficient. It will have expertise from parent companies on several important issues but also on aspects such as equipment repair and maintenance, parts for products manufacturing, and service providers for utilities among other necessities for running business operations successfully.
Regrettably, most businesses underestimate the value of having a good relationship with the suppliers. However, if the business between the two is to flow seamlessly, this area should not be ignored as it is of utmost significance.
Moreover, if you are planning to open a franchise elsewhere, building a good relationship with the vendor suppliers is highly important. The idea of franchising is that the customers expect to have an identical product as mother brands, therefore, ensuring that your suppliers bring you qualitative products and deliver them on time is highly important for your brand. Some brands provide their own chain of suppliers to ensure that the same products are delivered, however, some trust the services to you, and you have to cover this part by individually securing all the products. Therefore, as you seek to open a franchise, having a healthy relationship with suppliers is highly beneficial and you need to invest time and effort in it.
Use these 5 tips to improve your relationship with your suppliers.
1. Proper communication
Communication is vital in any relationship; the one with your suppliers included. Failure to communicate is a recipe for ill will and a disastrous working relationship. On the other hand, communicating brings transparency into the picture, which shows that you are looking out for each other’s interests, and working on the same page. That is why communication channels should be open for both parties from the word go.
However, communication needs to be effective if the relationship is to be enhanced. That means prompt and timely communication in case of changes with the supply timelines, putting into account cultural and time zone differences, open and honest interactions, and being quick to pick up the phone to correct a misunderstanding among others. In other words, you need to always be available for communication and try to achieve genuine understanding with your suppliers.
2. Prepare for emergencies
Contingencies are a part of the everyday running of a business. You have probably seen that recently with the spread of COVID 19 and the need for a contingency plan. The COVID 19 has impacted almost any business, not leaving the storage industry behind. Even with solid plans in place, you will at times have to deal with equipment failure, natural disasters or late shipments among other events that can disrupt your business significantly. Worse still, such incidences can easily throw your relationship with the suppliers off the balance if you lack an agreement for such occurrences.
To save your working relationship, have an understanding with your suppliers on how you expect them to behave in case unplanned events happen. Let them understand how they can act to help mitigate the situation to prevent further losses. In addition, understand that these things happen. This will help you deal with them kindly so your relationship remains unhurt.
Pro tip: It is good to be prepared as a company for events such as equipment failure or regular repairs. That way, you can do DIY repairs when your service person is unavailable or is running late. For instance, you can easily find HVAC parts and tools online fast and efficiently. If you are fully prepared for any possible mistakes, it is easier to come up with effective solutions.
3. Commit to contractual obligations
A supplier relationship needs to have a contract that highlights the terms that you have agreed on in doing business together. However, it doesn’t have to be just a piece of paper that you sign and forget about. For your relationship to thrive, both parties must understand and commit to these contractual obligations. However, in cases of franchising, you can contract an international PEO, such as NH Global Partners who can help you with all the laws and regulations needed.
There should exist a mutual trust that your suppliers will deliver what you need from them, and you will in turn pay fairly and within the agreed timeline.
4. Understand their business
Even in a normal human relationship, it becomes easier to love and accept the other person’s flaws if you understand them. It is not different from your relationship with your suppliers. When you seek to understand their way of doing business, you get valuable insights into their company values and the challenges that they face. That way, you are able to understand and adjust your expectations when such challenges delay a delivery. Additionally, it becomes much easier to accept a ‘no’ to a request from the supplier if you are aware of the values. It is always easier to come to satisfying agreements when the two of you get familiar with one another.
5. Be accountable
When something goes wrong, most of us are always quick to shift the blame to the other party. In case of a shipment delay, it is easier to point out the mistake to your supplier. However, before you do that, first assess the situation soberly. It could be that the suppliers had a challenge incorporating your last-minute changes to the project. Accept accountability when it squarely falls on you, and don’t forget to apologize if you falsely accused them. Try to be as mindful as possible when it comes to situations like this.
A good relationship with your suppliers is very instrumental in the success of your business. You position yourself to be accorded excellent service- the suppliers will go over and beyond to satisfy your deliveries if you are in the right position with them. Don’t forget that it makes negotiations easier, allowing you high chances of bagging better deals.