Monday, 25 August 2014

Relationship Management - What's the objective?

Authored by Khalel Saki

In last week’s post ‘Partner or Vendor?’ Mickey emphasized the importance of developing a healthy long term relationship with suppliers by ensuring both parties have regular touch points as opposed to singular transactional based relationships. Having had the opportunity to work on site with a number of clients, I found that one of the most effective ways of building a healthier relationship and reaching that ‘partner’ status is to establish mutual short and long term objectives.

With the majority of our clients setting similar if not identical objectives such as, cycle time reduction, cost cutting and user efficiency - objectives typical to that of a large scale procurement department adopting modern software solutions, it is up to us as the supplier to help them achieve these objectives in the most effective way possible. With future endeavors dependent on the outcome and success of these objectives, they in turn become a set of mutual objectives for both parties involved. This is where the ‘partner’ status to come into play.

Rather than just a straight-forward ‘on time or not, quality or not’ foundation, described earlier as a vendor type relationship, a more tailored one to one approach can be adopted across client sites, giving suppliers the opportunity to master best practice approaches that he/she can implement across their entire portfolio. From my own past experiences, I’ve found that for the client the supplier begins to embody their their own employees and when the time comes to depart, they often feel as though they have lost one of their own, welcoming the opportunity to work with the individual again.

As a supplier, we are responsible for maintaining the honorable “partner” status with our clients by not only delivering on our promises but valuing the relationship that we build along the way.

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