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How to Build Strong Relationships across the Supply Chain

In most sections of life, success often depends on successful relationships. When it comes to supply chains, it’s no different. In fact, strong relationships are critical to ensuring supply chain stability and smooth operations.

Whether your supply chain includes multiple partnerships with small and large companies or single and manageable, building strategic and mutually beneficial relationships is key to mitigating supply chain risk, ensuring customer satisfaction, and of course, improving your bottom line. 

But how do you build strong and reliable relationships across the supply chain? Let’s take a look.

Get to Know Your Suppliers Better

Your suppliers are your partners. Transform your relationship into a mutually beneficial partnership. Invest in the relationship and get to know them better. 

Learn how they work, like to communicate, and the technologies they use to get the job done. When you know your suppliers better, you’ll communicate and collaborate better with them. If you need to invest in technology to better align with their systems, it might be worth looking into. 

After all, whenever supply chain costs decrease through enhanced efficiency, it’ll have a positive impact on your bottom line. 

Pay Attention to the Details

Whenever you get sloppy with logistics, it directly impacts time, costs, and customer satisfaction. Missed shipments of components also threaten to derail and have a domino effect on projects.

Repeated mistakes down the supply chain negatively impact healthy relationships (or supply chain partnerships). By being thorough with the details from dimensions of the freight to pick up locations and more, you can minimize waste in logistics. 

Implement Robust Technologies

Whenever things don’t go according to plan (and they will), leverage communication and collaboration tools to better manage delays, just-in-time inventories, and so on.

If you’re structuring your workflows and processes to accommodate new technologies, you’re doing it wrong. In this scenario, it’s better to invest in custom software that optimizes your workflows and processes.

Robust project management tools also help highlight areas that demand improvement. This approach enables better performance and strategic planning going forward. 

The primary goal here is to leverage technology to make the supply chain and manufacturing processes as visible as possible. This approach helps eliminate silos and bottlenecks and avert disruptive demand and supply situations. 

However, it’s vital to note that it’s not enough to just have visibility. What matters is how you use it. This means identifying risks and mitigating them, quickly identifying and locking in alternate suppliers, sensing a change, and pivoting to using it as a competitive edge. 

Focus on Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), Not the Price

When choosing a supplier, many of us are often guilty of just focusing on the price. However, it’s better to concentrate on the TCO of a product or service.

Typically, the cost of most products and services are about 25% to 40% of the TCO. This suggests that it’s better to focus on operations, warehousing, and transportation costs instead.

When you prioritize value and long-term success over costs, the payoff’s significant in the long run. It also goes a long way to building strong and lasting partnerships and the fastest and easiest approach to improving the bottom line. 

For over 25 years, Michigan Manufacturing International has helped American OEMs overcome supply chain challenges and ensure business continuity.


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