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Manufacturing success strategies: Treat suppliers like valued partners

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A recent article in Entrepreneur magazine discusses a number of areas where suppliers can impact a business’s performance. These include many of the attributes on which manufacturers compete, like quality, timeliness, competitiveness and innovation. Given the important role suppliers play, it makes smart business sense to build good relationships with the key ones.

The article offers four tips for how to strengthen your supplier relationships and “be a valued customer.” Greater detail can be found in the piece, but the high-level version is this:

  1. Always pay on time.

  2. Provide adequate lead times.

  3. Personalize the relationship.

  4. Share information.

For those manufacturers who think that being the customer gives them complete control of their supplier relationships, these strategies may be a revelation. For others, they probably seem like common sense…but depending on the state of a company’s internal operations, they may not be easy to achieve. If you start with the right attitude—that is, that your key suppliers should be treated like valued partners—and leverage available tools and practices to get your product data and development processes under control, you’ll have a foundation upon which to build the good supplier relationships that are so critical to your company’s success.

Read the complete article about supplier relationships on the Entrepreneur website.

(Thanks to for highlighting this article in a recent newsletter.)

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