Good suppliers, like good customers, can last a lifetime. But like
good customers they involve a relationship, not just a series of
transactions. Relationships are valuable � they require constant
monitoring, feedback, communications and fine-tuning.
In the past few years, the trend toward cutting down on the number
of suppliers has been accelerating. But the fewer the suppliers you
work with, the more important the remaining ones become. What�s
important when dealing with suppliers � whether on a cash or a trade
basis � are ones you can trust.
To select suppliers intelligently, you must have a clear
understanding of your own goals. Know what your standards are for
price, quality, reliability, and the need for peak performance at
crunch times. Not only do you need to trust your suppliers, but you
also need suppliers who trust you. So try to understand as much
about their operations as you do about your own.
Do you know your suppliers� top management people?
Do they have depth in talent and experience?
Are they stable, or are they susceptible to turnover?
Is their vision of the future secure, or are they in flux �
waiting to be sold?
Your suppliers must not only be able to perform today, but in the
foreseeable future. Ask yourself if they have the capacity to grow
with you, both in volume and in technological capability.