by James Canada
Last month, we discussed internal and external customer/supplier relationships. Every employee has customers, both inside and outside the company, who rely on that employee’s output. If you extend that thinking, then any work function can be viewed as a business process. And that idea is at the heart of true quality improvement.
The interactions we have with outside customers is an obvious business transaction. But so is the exchange between business partners, who must understand and meet each other’s requirements. The same goes for external suppliers, who need to know about our business so they can better meet our needs. All of these relationships are equally important and should be managed equally well.
In fact, it’s useful to think of all such interactions as customer/supplier relationships. In this context, the word “supplier” doesn’t just mean an outside vendor—it can be anyone who provides you with input, such as another department in your company or even the person in the next office.
The most important component of a successful customer/supplier relationship (or any relationship) is “feedback.” If we fail to tell our suppliers how they’re doing and what our expectations are, they won’t know if they’re meeting our requirements.
In all instances, a company is better off developing strong relationships with fewer suppliers. Let your suppliers know that, if they meet your needs at a fair price, they will keep your business. If you do so, your suppliers —whether vendors or coworkers—will have a reason to give you the extra service and support you need. They may also be willing to change their processes to ensure you receive the quality you want and need.
James H. Canada is managing partner/CEO for Alliance Technologies LLC, ITEN mentor and author of “Corporate to Entrepreneur: Strategies for Success.” Contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org, 636-734-2337 or www.alliancetechnologiesllc.com.