Coaching suppliers

In an earlier post I emphasized that treating your suppliers as customers was a good business practice. A further point is that most suppliers benefit from being coached on how to best support your business. If you make them guess as to how to best support you, you will very likely be disappointed in their performance. On the other hand, if you teach them how to help you succeed, both you and your suppliers can improve the processes and tactics that support business success and growth.

If your suppliers are not meeting your expectations or if their lack of performance is hurting your business, your first reaction is likely to be a desire to want to penalize them. Unless you have already gone through the process of discussing and defining the issue with them and agreeing on a plan for improvement and given them time to improve, you are only hurting yourself when you penalize them. By treating them badly you may scare them into complying, but that’s all you will get. You won’t be encouraging them to want to better learn how to support you.

In my 20+ years managing suppliers for 3 big box retailers, I know from experience that coaching suppliers can significantly improve their performance and their willingness to help you grow your business. Coaching suppliers effectively helps them better collaborate with you and also allows them to increase their emotional investment in your success. And you want to be the company that suppliers compete to support.

 

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