Chances are, you are happy with your supply partnerships, but it is no secret that supply chain security has been a hot topic that seems set to stay for the short-midterm future. With changes in pricing and availability happening more frequently than we are used to, many businesses are feeling the strain which can have a knock-on effect to supplier relationships.

Building long-lasting, trusted relationships with dedicated suppliers is so important. A partnership with a supplier should not be seen as just a financial transaction, but as a mutually beneficial partnership, it is key to continually manage supplier relationships as closely as you do client relationships, after all your demand will not be met without supply. Here are our five top tips to keep your supply chain relationships in great shape!

  1. Do you encourage your employees to see suppliers as an extension of your business? Encouraging mutual respect and understanding is vital for a healthy partnership. Suppliers should be seen as an extension of your team with mutual objectives. Listening to supplier concerns and maintaining regular communication leads to a stronger relationship, which helps to safeguard you for the future.
  2. Consider factors other than a lower price point when choosing your suppliers, such as service and reliability. A supplier may be the most affordable, but how does their service stack up against their competitors? If they are consistently missing deliveries or causing delays, this can be a time-consuming task to manage and resolve, it can cause reputational damage within your own business and not to mention disruption to your clients, those cheap prices do not seem as important now do they?
  3. Setting expectations before embarking on the partnership is key, outlining what your business wants to gain from the relationship before the agreement is made can ensure success from initial stages. Equally, expectations should also be set by the supplier so there is an understanding from both parties of what is expected. This reduces the potential for disagreements or conflict later down the line.
  4. Pay on time! Nothing sours a relationship quicker than payments not being received when expected. Understanding the importance of cash flow is mutual for both parties, and to ensure a good relationship you need to be seen as a dependable partner.
  5. Communication is always key especially if any unforeseen issues do occur. Show your suppliers that you are doing all you can and keep communication regular. Having a dedicated accounts team who are in contact frequently allows the relationship to build organically and will help to resolve an issue quicker and more positively if one does arise. Make sure that alongside regular communication with your suppliers, you let them know when you are happy with their service, as this will go a long way in building a strong partnership.

Managing your own supplier network can be time consuming and often requires a dedicated accounts team to manage. At EF-group we manage our supplier relationships closely, so you do not have to. We provide our clients access to our 2000+ supplier network of local, regional, and national suppliers through our procure-to-pay solution ‘Freshmarkets’. Offering products across food and non-foods categories, we manage all supplier relationships and invoicing, saving our clients considerable admin time. We also offer further value with tools such as customised BI reporting so you can track spend across multiple sites.

If a new or alternative supplier is required at any point, we can select one from our trusted community of supply partners, or we can simply add a new supplier of your choice to our expanding network. This process is all managed by our team of experts meaning you do not have the hassle of searching and benchmarking yourself.

To find out more about EF-group or to discuss your supply chain needs, please contact Steve Walker, Group Sales Director on 07837 212719 of email