How to Become a Customer of Choice With Your Suppliers

Michele Warg
Posted by

Good suppliers that are loyal to your business represent vital links that improve efficiency and increase profit margins. When one part of a supply chain breaks down, delays occur, customers get antsy and companies pay for more staff time to correct any snafus. This increased effort drains revenue and shifts focus to areas that increase costs.

Becoming the customer of choice for a supplier marks one way to improve supply chain efficiency. Good suppliers do not want to be treated as a doormat to a larger company's overall profits. Recent automotive recalls bear this out when large automakers sought products made at Chinese manufacturing levels. The car companies should have realized the old adage "you get what you pay for" before demanding cheaper parts.

Suppliers, and the companies that pay for their products, have symbiotic relationships. When a supplier profits and becomes more viable, the company that buys from the supplier also does better through more reliability and an improved quality of products. The supply chain wins by becoming more efficient without giving up workmanship, and companies that buy materials in bulk benefit by delivering better finished products themselves. Improved revenue streams on the supply side create more reinvestment of profits.

Developing close, trustworthy relationships with your most important suppliers benefits everyone along your supply chain process. Earn your stripes as a customer of choice by working closely with suppliers that provides innovative products. Companies that make specialized parts and have few competitors characterize important suppliers that you cannot live without.

Becoming a noteworthy customer gives you access to the company's resources in a time of crisis. If a huge order has to happen immediately, top executives who love your extra income step up for you. Business partnerships share technology, tips and strategies for improving the supply process without sacrificing quality.

Better supplier engagement lowers costs, improves the planning process, raises product quality and increases supplier support. Becoming a valued customer in the supply chain lowers costs in all departments, which, in turn, raises profits.

Companies that become valuable customers to their suppliers create a vital strategic advantage over competitors. A supplier gets improved clarity, knowing exactly what a company needs and when. The customer should be easy to work with on every level. Customers and suppliers should be able to count on each other to solve problems, and they need a reciprocal relationship for success. Suppliers and customers must be interconnected to create an ongoing dialogue for improvement.

Companies that make finished products must rely on trusted suppliers to get the job done. Becoming a most valuable customer is one way to ensure your supplies arrive on time and up to par. When a supplier continually drops the ball, you may have to choose another supplier to stay afloat. Even if your finished product costs more with a new supplier, your end product represents the lifeblood of your profit-making abilities. Without a product to sell, your company disintegrates rapidly.

The supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Prop up important suppliers by developing special relationships with them to avoid making supply snafus even worse.


Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at



Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch