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Competition in today’s markets is more aggressive than ever before. As any manager who has been in the position of managing a project for their company can attest, it is not an easy task. If your supply chain is not managed successfully from the start it would spell almost definite overages.

It doesn’t matter what your project is about, if you require the services or products of a third party than you need to exercise effective management practices to protect your budget and deliverables. You will begin by building your consortia group based on previous engagements, history with your trades, and connections through your networks.

This may take some time, but you should build rapport with your consortium the same as you would with your clients. You want to know who you are dealing with and who is providing you the service or product you are delivering to your customer. Interact with your suppliers through networking groups, social media, and in person at their location. Learn to understand their operations and how they assure quality and feel confident that you are dealing with an expert. During your visits and discussions, try to learn about their annual business and operations as a whole. Are they going to be a supplier that may fade away to their competition or do they hold a solid market share and will be reliable in the future?

Another valuable piece of information to learn is who are their biggest competitors and make sure you are connecting with them as well. These are the companies that will compete against each other to earn your business and will most likely provide the best quality in comparison.

If you are not gathering competitive quotes because you feel you have a strong and symbiotic relationship with one supplier, you may be spending more money than necessary. Use caution when not contesting the rates of a supplier. Suppliers have the opportunity to slowly increase rates if they are aware that there are no other bidders. There is always that fine line between business and friends.

As you get to know your suppliers and how they operate, what their quality control is like and the level of service you will receive, you will realize that the lowest price is not always the best value. There are a number of other aspects that may affect your deliverables to your client. Your response times to your customer may be important to their needs.  If your supplier takes too long to reply to you, your client may get anxious and reconsider their options for the next project.

You should also ensure that you are receiving exactly what you requested from each supplier. If a client requests a variation it is their right, but if a supplier is always trying to make variations for their benefit you are not delivering the product that the client requested. During a project you want your communication between you, your client, and your supplier to be open, clear, consistent, and accurate. If a supplier doesn’t express issues promptly, it can create greater problems with your client. If a detail is missed because someone didn’t feel it was important, it could be costly. At the end of your project your ultimate goal is to simply ensure your client is completely satisfied with your product. Develop relationships with suppliers that are going to represent the same level of quality you would want to receive and deliver to your customer.

With each project you complete you, will gain a greater understanding of each of the suppliers you are using. You will discover that there are endless qualities that will make your job easier and your products better. These qualities will not be jumping out at you or evident with each job.  It will take some work, organization, and monitoring from the management side to develop a solid and reliable group of suppliers. Suppliers that are awarded more jobs will appear like a sensible choice, but pricing should be compared against their quality and consistency in producing exactly what is requested. Their communications and response times will also come into consideration when rating each of your trades.

Management of your suppliers can develop a strong chain of quality products for optimal pricing. Removing and reducing suppliers that are not achieving your standards will increase your satisfied customers, reduce your indirect spending or expenses, increase your profit margins and most likely increase your sales through referrals or repeat business.

Working hard to recruit a valuable and reliable chain will build stronger relationships with clients and credibility of your products and services.

 

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