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Healthy supplier relationships

Seizing the benefits of strong supplier relationships.

By Clint Scott, Vice President – Implementation & Supplier Enablement

If you only talk to your suppliers when you’re late on a payment, it may be time to refocus on those relationships. Suppliers are key to your business and being on the same page with them can help you build financial success together. The key is to balance your suppliers’ needs and your best interests. Here are a few pivotal pieces that every business leader should consider for fostering successful relationships with suppliers:

Think of your suppliers as partners.

They are your most valuable assets – if you’re working together. For example, you may have an accounts payable card program where you pay your suppliers using a virtual card. If your suppliers have declined receiving payments by card in the past, you may find that they have broadened their accepted payment types to include card payments. Regular communication with your suppliers, whether it be you or your AP card provider, could lead to open doors that were once previously closed.

Compromise is a win-win for everyone.

Supplier relationships aren’t a zero-sum game; when your suppliers do well, you do well, and vice versa. You can start by making an easy compromise: Offer to pay suppliers electronically instead of by check. This is worth considering anyway, since the use of checks is in decline. They’ll be able to process your payment sooner instead of waiting for checks to arrive and clear. Plus, it saves you both money (and could even get you some revenue).

Invest in supplier support.

Give your suppliers a quick, easy way to contact you when they inevitably need to call about a payment. A dedicated phone number with a real person on the other end is always a good start.

Discounts for early payments may be in reach.

Many suppliers are willing to give discounts in exchange for faster payment. If you haven’t tried to negotiate for a discount, you could be missing out on big savings. You’ll have a better chance at negotiating discounts if you’re in a happy, healthy relationship with your suppliers. Learn more about accessing early payment discounts for your business.

At the end of the day, it’s important to understand that your suppliers’ financial success leads to your financial success. Investing in your suppliers is one of the best things you can do for your bottom line.

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