The UK is experiencing supply chain turmoil. Businesses all over the country are struggling to get stock and deliver the services clients demand. Building strong supplier relationships can give you an edge over your competition.

You can work as a team to smooth out your supply chain. You may even be able to access deals, discounts and new opportunities.

But to do this you first need solid relationships. So how do you strengthen them?

We have a guide to help you work better with your suppliers. Read on to learn how.

1. Crystal Clear Communication

Keep them in the loop at all times. Refine your messaging until it is unambiguous and direct. Make time for face-to-face discussions or at least a video call at their convenience.

Lead time is essential. Reduce stress on both sides by giving suppliers time to prepare for any changes. Notify them of new stock, new product ideas and any tweaks in turnaround time.

2. Manage and Mitigate Risk for Both of You

This works best as a face-to-face discussion. Listen to any concerns they have, review your contractual agreements and policies, and work together to reduce risk.

Automating parts of your procurement process can remove the pressure, so you can focus on the main issues, prepare for them and keep things moving.

3. Treat Your Suppliers as Business Partners

Where would you be without any stock? Your suppliers are crucial, so reward them with mutual respect. Be a source of business contacts and be open to any further opportunities to work together.

Your suppliers know more about their link in your supply chain than anyone, so use their expertise to carve an edge over your competition.

4. Reach Out First and Often

This applies to positive and constructive feedback. When your supplier has fulfilled their obligations, tell them so and give praise where it is due. A simple message thanking them will go a long way.

Address issues fast so you can smooth things out. Avoid waiting for suppliers to contact you. It is your business on the line.

5. Pay On Time, Every Time

Your suppliers have financial obligations like all of us, and a small delay can have a large impact. Reliability is a keystone of trust, so make sure you have theirs.

You can automate your accounts payable with P2P tools like Xelix. This removes the chance of an error on your part, and with a busy schedule, this is all too easy.

6. Stick to the Contract

Knowing what is expected of us is essential for work satisfaction and effectiveness. Be as clear as you can when drawing up contracts. Refer to them often in talks with your suppliers.

Consider things from your supplier’s point of view and stick to your obligations. Refine your contracts together when the time comes.

Next Steps to Smoother Procurement

You have enough to think about without the nitty-gritty of your supply chain. Use tools to make things work better with your suppliers. Value them and hone your relationships to help your business grow.

Automation tools free up your time to focus on other matters. Your accounts payable will be effective, and the extra data will give you renewed clarity.