We're here to help. Get in touch. | info@shieldworksmfg.com
China Headquarters: +86 (0)756 3828390

Navigating Supplier Agreement Management: Best Practices

Imagine how much further you can take your company’s performance when you work with the right supplier. You’ll avoid delays, develop stronger professional relationships, and save a substantial amount of money.

Navigating supplier agreement management can seem difficult at first. However, it’s essential for growing your business.

You will also avoid becoming one of the 20% of small businesses that fail within their first year. We’ve created a brief guide on how you can handle supplier agreements and find the ideal product supplier for your situation. Let’s explore the key information you need to know.

Engage with Key Stakeholders Early

Many businesses make the mistake of involving key stakeholders far too late in the process. This can lead to major complications, such as misalignment across different teams. In some situations, it can lead to delayed negotiations or broken agreements.

Instead, meet with the stakeholders before moving forward with your suppliers. This will help them understand compliance, financial, and data privacy requirements.

Overall, this process will make your relationship with your supplier far more fruitful. After involving stakeholders, ensure you update them on the current situation. This will help you avoid many potential issues you may have otherwise dealt with.

Establish Performance Expectations

Establish your goals at the beginning of your relationship with your supplier. Not only does this ensure everyone’s on the same page, but it also helps you weed out options that won’t meet your needs.

It’s worth noting that setting your expectations will help establish additional transparency. This is crucial for laying the foundation for strong professional relationships.

Have a Hub for Collaboration

Multiple teams should have a centralized location where they can access the required information. This allows stakeholders and suppliers to connect and get the information they need.

The last thing you want is to serve as the middleman between these two parties. This is inefficient and can detract from your other responsibilities.

Implement Outstanding Approval Workflows

Contracts are often stuck in limbo due to the need for approval. In many cases, the required party may have not even seen the agreement yet. Implementing approval workflows can help you get the signatures you need as soon as possible.

One of the best ways to expedite this process is by using automation. In context, this could involve an agreement automatically getting sent to the appropriate party after the previous user has taken action.

To further elucidate, imagine an employee at your organization approving a proposal from your supplier. This could then automatically be sent to them. Afterward, it will be returned once they provide their approval.

This maintains momentum and minimizes the chance of human error. Even a single incident could have major consequences. Keep this in mind when moving forward.

Regularly Review Your Agreements

Reviewing your agreements will provide valuable insight into key details. To clarify, your supplier agreement could have many upcoming deadlines. Missing even a single one can lead to major consequences.

After review, you can communicate with your team on how to handle upcoming obligations. Providing them with enough notice will help keep them productive and minimize their stress levels.

Cultivate Your Relationships

It’s not recommended to prioritize money over professional relationships. This can lead to you working with suppliers who don’t care about your company’s performance.

For example, you might find a supplier that allows you to easily stay within your budget. However, they may not have solid customer support.

They also don’t appreciate repeat business, making them unlikely to offer perks for renewed contracts. It’s best to find a product supplier you resonate with so you can focus on growing your relationship with them.

This is the added benefit of allowing you to save money in the future. It’s not uncommon for suppliers to give substantial discounts to their long-term clients. That might also provide you with other benefits, such as increased contract flexibility.

It can sometimes take years to forge a strong professional relationship, but it takes only seconds to undo it. Always stay communicative and respectful with your supplier. This will help you improve your company’s performance.

Finding the Right Supplier

The supplier you work with will heavily impact how easy it is to manage your agreements with them. It’s essential to do your due diligence before making your decision.

See what other people online have to say about the company’s performance. There should be no shortage of positive feedback praising their communication and professionalism. It’s also important to examine their pricing structure.

Not all suppliers are created equal, and you often get what you pay for when shopping around. For this reason, it’s never recommended to choose the cheapest options you find.

However, you don’t need to spend as much money as possible. Somewhere in the middle of the price range can help you reach your goals without stretching your budget. Do they seem enthusiastic about helping your company?

Never work with a business that isn’t passionate about bringing your vision to life. You can assess their enthusiasm by considering the questions they ask about your needs.

Do they have experience working with companies like yours? This is an attribute you can’t overlook, as it will help them understand your business’s unique nuances.

Ideally, you’ll find someone who’s been in the industry for at least a decade. With enough vigilance, you shouldn’t have an issue finding the best supplier for business growth.

Never Overlook Supplier Agreement Management

Without the right supplier agreement management place, you risk encountering major issues. These can derail your company’s trajectory.

The good news is that the information in this guide will help you make the best decisions for your future. Be sure to choose the right supplier, though.

Shield Works has provided customized OEM manufacturing, assembly, and warehousing solutions for almost two decades. We pride ourselves on our transparent, open, and flexible working practices.

We’re also 100% Western-owned, allowing us to have a strong understanding of your company’s goals. You can learn more about the benefits we provide when you speak with a representative today.