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A Match Made in Heaven: Working with Vendors with Maximum Efficiency

As a business owner, you know that few companies are able to handle all aspects of doing business alone. Whether a small business requires raw materials to manufacture a product or supplies to handle employee or customer needs, it often must partner with vendors to supply materials or services. Entering into a partnership such as this should not be done lightly; doing your research up front can ensure a smooth, and hopefully long-lasting, relationship.

Establishing Vendor Relations

Vendor quality can vary greatly, and even when vendors are known for providing great service, it's critical to determine how well they match the way you do business. To work with vendors who provide maximum efficiency, you'll need to be certain that your vendor's way of doing business aligns with how your company does business. The process of selecting a vendor should be handled with as much care as you would use in establishing any other business partnership.

Take the time to shop around extensively before choosing a vendor. Make a list of selection criteria and check each possible candidate against this list. You should research the possibilities closely, verifying the vendor's claims to ensure that you'll receive the product or services as promised.

Don't limit yourself to domestic vendors alone if you don't have to. In a globalized marketplace, it's sometimes better to seek out vendors on an international basis to find one that truly meshes with your company. Business translation software is available to make working with vendors using documents in a foreign language easier.

Working with Vendors

Finding the best way to work with a vendor can mean the difference between a profitable relationship and a contentious one. A good working relationship begins with the initial contract.

Once you've chosen a vendor, don't hesitate to negotiate favorable terms for your contract. These terms can be anything from a trial period of six months (to ensure that your company and the vendor actually work well together) to negotiating expanded credit terms after a period of time.

Make sure that all aspects of the vendor relationship are spelled out in the contract, from products or services provided to conflict management methods, should an issue arise.

Work closely with the vendor throughout the contract period. You'll want to establish a consistent contact person. By keeping the same person as the point of contact, you can develop a more personal relationship.

Working with vendors requires that you keep careful track of all vendor transactions. Keeping a careful account of each transaction provides you with a paper trail should there be an issue with any of the transactions. Accounting software is available that can make this aspect of working with vendors easy by allowing you to keep track of multiple vendors with up-to-the-minute data.

Efficiency When Working with Vendors

An efficient vendor relationship begins with vendor choice. By choosing a vendor whose methods of doing business closely match your own, you can lower miscommunications that may slow down operations between the two companies. Having all vendor expectations spelled out within the contract helps when working with vendors as well, ensuring that the vendor produces the goods or services contracted for on time.

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