The Value in Supplier Partnerships
Customer complaints can be the most difficult portion of running a business, and the most costly. One bad review can wipe out any number of positive reviews. What does this have to do with your suppliers? Your product is only as good as your suppliers’ best efforts. There is increased value in supplier relationships.
It is crucial to the success of your company that you cultivate true partnerships with your suppliers. Your suppliers are integral to the success of your finished product, so treat them like the valuable partners that they are in your company’s success story.
Quality partnerships produce quality products
Companies in highly regulated sectors such as medical technology, defense and automotive manufacturers have long realized that, in order for their products to succeed, they need to rely heavily on the quality of their suppliers. These manufacturers also recognize that if they want their suppliers to produce accurate parts with few errors, they need to nurture their relationships with their partners. They need to ensure that their partners are on their team, so that when they assemble the final product, they have a reasonable expectation that customer response will be positive.
This partnership culture is now filtering out to other sectors as well. While it may not be as crucial for a toy helicopter to fly correctly as it is for a Department of Defense helicopter to fly correctly, it is equally important to both manufacturers that they not receive negative reviews of their product due to the failure of one or more of its components.
Supplier quality management
It is no surprise, then, that good supplier quality management is a competitive advantage. After all, a consumer reading product reviews is much more likely to purchase a product with an overwhelming number of positive reviews than he or she is to purchase a similar product with poor reviews.
According to LNS Research, a leading research and advisory firm that delivers technological insights for business executives, “SQM [Supplier Quality Management] is one of the highest potential value areas for quality investment. [The] data provides a stark comparison in performance between those that have deployed SQM People, Process and Technology and those that haven’t.” Read the blog. The study continues by noting that “[q]uality leaders should invest in SQM best practices to achieve several goals: address top industry trends, achieve noticeable performance improvements, and increase quality maturity.” All of these ingredients lead directly to your company’s success or failure, and all are impacted by the quality of your supplier partnerships.
Tracking the success of your partnership
A partnership doesn’t begin and end with a signature on the dotted line. Of course your supplier can perform to set standards, or they would not be your supplier. The question becomes, then, how do you motivate your supplier to perform as though it had a vested interest in the success of your company?
The answer is simple: maintain an open line of communication. After all, the best partnerships are those in which information flows evenly from one side to the other. The easiest way to accomplish this flow of information is through performance track, audits and assessments, in which your company not only captures data regarding the supplier, but communicates that data back to the supplier in a manner that allows the supplier to provide meaningful feedback. This feedback is the foundation of a successful dialog between you and your partner suppliers.
True conversations, between people or companies, lead to strong relationships. Strong relationships encourage each partner to provide solutions that are mutually beneficial to both partners.
All on the same page
Have you ever tried to assemble something using instructions that were written so poorly it seemed as though the person writing the instructions spoke an entirely different language?
This is the same frustration that supplier partners feel when trying to communicate with you through disparate channels. If their systems cannot “talk” to your systems, the message you are trying to communicate becomes garbled. This situation is not improved through emails with multiple attachments explaining exactly what your system is trying to say to their system.
This frustration can and will lead to a breakdown in communications, a breakdown of the partnership and a breakdown of the quality of your supplier.
IQS delivers quality SQM solutions that break through the barriers between you and your suppliers. Through IQS’s integrated SQM, you and your suppliers can communicate clearly, quickly and securely, allowing you to experience the meaningful dialog that will improve their parts and your final product.
Contact IQS today to strengthen your supplier partnerships through seamless communication. Become the “people person” that brings out the best value in supplier partnerships and the best qualities in your company.