Maintaining healthy long-term relationships with vendors is often cited as one of the keys to running a successful retail business, both online and offline. Some vendors will always be more flexible than others, more willing to negotiate with you and perhaps even settle for a compromise, but this doesn’t meant that the rest should be treated with cold informality. Your inventory supply management process as well as your business as a whole can benefit if you continually work on improving vendor relationships.

  1. Determine how important each vendor is for you and focus on building successful relationships with the most important ones. You want to treat well every vendor you work with, but at the same time keep in mind that not all of them offer you the same value.
  1. Use an inventory control and planning solution that comes with an integrated purchase order and vendor management feature to effectively manage vendors. Keeping an up-to-date list of vendors together with relevant order histories enables you to easily understand how important each vendor is for you. It helps guide important decisions such as whether to order a certain product from one vendor or another, or whether a particular vendor is important enough for you to accept any clauses on pre-ordering or advance payments they may request.
  1. Work toward developing a relationship with important people on a vendor’s management ladder, rather than dealing only with sales representatives. While at the beginning of a relationship with any vendor it can be difficult to reach the executives, especially if it’s a large vendor, the longer you stick with them, the easier it becomes to reach the key people and approach them with offers and requests.
  1. Place your purchase orders in due time and ensure that they are always accurate. Should issues arise, make sure your team works with the vendor to solve them, or become involved personally. Using a forecasting tool for small business can help you anticipate demand and avoid last-minute orders or canceling orders, which are two of the things that annoy vendors big and small the most.
  1. Track all your purchase orders and review them periodically. This will help you see any negative patterns in the order supply process, such as vendors with a history of delayed deliveries, or that suffer from chronic shipping problems, so that you can avoid them in the future. Tracking your purchase orders becomes easier with an inventory supply management

Some retailers are stuck in negative relationships with their vendors because they do not effectively manage their purchase orders, nor do they act based on the information these provide. We know vendors are important for businesses, which is why we’ve built into DataQlick, our QuickBooks inventory app, an easy to use vendor management system for purchase orders. You can learn more about this useful feature in DataQlick here.