On Day 2, the true love gifted two turtle doves. This festive season, be like the doves, and spread the love with suppliers and customers.
The traditional 12 days of Christmas might not start until the 26th of December. But this festive season, we’ll be bringing you the 12 days of procurement Christmas in the run up to the big day. Catch up with Day 1 here.
“On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…two turtle doves.”
Turtle doves traditionally represent love and faithfulness because they mate for life, and work together to build nests and raise their young.
What’s that got to do with procurement, we hear you cry? Well, if you’re looking to build world-class procurement performance, you need to value your relationships. Be it your suppliers, customers, or internal and external stakeholders, they should be the focus of your attention.
Take the Lead from the Turtle Doves
If you’re not feeling the love in your supplier relationship, you’ll need to put some hard work in. As Tania Seary says here, there will come a time when the romance fades. But you can bring it back to make sure that you and your supplier are working in tandem.
It takes time and commitment to build this relationship, there are no short cuts. And once you have built trust, you’ll need to work even harder to maintain it. This is where good Supplier Relationship Management comes in. Here’s a brief refresh:
Building the relationship (much like our turtle doves) helps build that feeling of faithfulness, and both parties are less likely to drop the relationship at the first sign of trouble.
So what are some of the tactics you can use to keep you relationship fresh and mutually beneficial:
- Spend time with your supplier, and make time to visit their offices/factories/premises. They’ll appreciate it.
- Give due reward for good work. Often a simple thanks will work best, but how about letting them in on the ground floor of future contracts?
- Be open, honest, and truthful. Nothing destroys a relationship quicker than a lack of trust.
- Got a problem? Invite them into see if they can help with a solution. You never know, you might just get a great gift of innovation from them.
Can You Feel the Love Tonight?
And it’s not just your suppliers that you need to build strong relationships with. Your customers, internal and external, are just as important for procurement. The customer is always right after all (even when it seems like they aren’t!).
Customer (or stakeholder) engagement comes down to three critical skills for procurement professionals:
- Good communication
- Effective questioning
- Stakeholder mapping
Want to know more? Funny you should ask that – you can catch up on another top Procurious video here.
Much of this can be linked back to the well-known, and oft-trodden, procurement process. Stakeholder engagement should underpin the entire process – we used this example yesterday when we talked about creating a specification.
People naturally want to be kept in the loop, and don’t like unexpected surprises. But, at the same time, most people will be more understanding of issues if they are made aware of them. So, much like your supplier relationships, open and honest communication will take you a long way.
Although we’re on Day 2, consider this as step 1 in the process. Get everyone onside at the start, and you’ll save yourself a lot of pain in the future. And, with any luck, you’ll manage to build a lasting relationship.
Do you still feel like you’re speaking a different language to the rest of the business? Still struggling to communicate procurement’s value. We’re talking Three French Hens on Monday.