Two weeks ago, I wrote an article about how inventory management can take your customer service to the next level. Make sure your customer knows what to expect, keep your promises and if things do go wrong, communicate a solution to your customer as soon as possible. Of course, we expect the same service from our suppliers. If your supplier does not deliver to the standards, it will impact your production process and possibly your customer. After all, your company is part of a chain which is only as strong as its weakest link.

Therefore it is important to pay attention to those weaker links in the chain. You should not assume that every supplier has organized their stock management and logistics as well as you do. Here are some things you can do to keep your supply chain under control.

It already starts with the selection of your supplier. Try to check some references to get an impression of what you can expect from this supplier. Once convinced, you make the necessary arrangements with the supplier on which products and services he will provide: prices, quality, delivery time, payment terms, the more the better… Good agreements make good friends! All too often we are having discussions afterwards because not all topics were properly discussed at the start of the collaboration.

But even if you have solid agreements in place, for example about delivery time, it is still important to follow up on your orders with the supplier carefully. Make sure you get a confirmation from your supplier after sending an order. And on the agreed delivery date, you check whether the delivery has actually arrived and contact the supplier as soon as possible if this is not the case. For deliveries with a long delivery time (sea transport, for example), I would even advise you to get informed earlier in the delivery process, for example at the time when goods depart at the harbour of origin. Like you also check whether you are still on schedule for a project during status meetings, you ensure that there is sufficient information exchange with the supplier during the delivery process to avoid surprises.

The purpose of these checks is not so much to be able to confront your supplier with his shortcomings, but to ensure that your process remains under control, that your production can continue as planned and that your customer can be delivered as agreed. It is also a misunderstanding to think this requires a lot of extra work and time from your buyers. Solutions exist to largely automate this process. And the time and effort you put in, usually make up for the time that employees lose when they want to start a production order and it turns out that not all parts are in, with all the organizational consequences that entails. Not to mention the image damage you incur because you failed to deliver on your promise to the customer.

Hopefully this article has given you an idea on how your company could be even more successful by monitoring supplier performance . Do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss this any further.