Your approach to finding a new vendor or supplier should be optimistic and you should be looking forward to partnering with an organization that aligns with your organizational values, product goals and process. While issues will arise, mindset and approach will set that tone for the success of your relationships and business.
Start the relationship on a good foot, ensure that the RFP is clear and concise so everyone is aligned. Immediate change after kick off or frequent change requests will ensure the relationship sours quickly.
At kick-off, get consensus that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. An example of this is that people in your organization have a clear understanding of who to contact when a problem arises and the best way to communicate.
While beginning to engage in a vendor relationship, clarify uncertainties and develop a framework for engagement. This can include expectations for raw material sourcing, operational standards at a factory level, management oversight, KPIs and milestones.
Make sure the communication line is open, but meetings are also set on a weekly schedule. When you are meeting, follow cultural norms and expectations, but also come to the meeting prepared and productive. In these meetings, you and your vendors should also feel comfortable to ask questions and to clarify uncertainties if, or when, they arise.
Other key considerations include utilizing a vendor management system and performance software to ensure that you’re tracking the successes with your suppliers and points of improvement. Of course, the vendor should also be deep diving and reviewing your performance as a partner as well. A good vendor management program should check if the costs have been true or similar to original expectations, if progress and development are on time or within budget and if there has been continual transparency in the relationship.
For smaller teams, with individuals wearing many hats, and even larger, where there are many individuals across the board with overlapping responsibilities, it may be hard to manage these functions while your supplier partner is located in a different country. You can utilize a sourcing & quality agent, like Victure, to hone in on owning the vendor relations and driving your company towards success. With Victure, the eyes and ears of your supply chain, you can ensure that your vendors are being understood, managed and successful in your product plans.
Join the following groups for your sourcing needs-
China Sourcing- https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4462099/
India Sourcing- https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8454669/
Vietnam Sourcing- https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8815822/
Asia Sourcing- https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8909383/
Gifts and Premiums- https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4421652/
Circular Economy- https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13908783/