Business suppliers provide all of your office needs. From copier paper to binder clips and pens, from chairs to desks, and from computers to phones, these are the people that provide everything your company needs to keep going and functioning all day, every day. That said, you should treat your business suppliers more like employees, and less like business partners. Here is why, and how.
Personal Assistants, Office "Go-fers," and Business Suppliers
What do all of the above have in common? They all fetch things for you and either bring them to you or send them to you. Most personal assistants and office "go-fers" are already employees. As such, you treat them like any other employee by evaluating them, taking notes on their performance, rating them, keeping track of their hours worked and their requested hours off, and tracking their movements throughout the day with their scan-in, scan-out badges. Guess what? Business suppliers do most of those things too, and there are business supplier management solutions in the form of software that help you track everything your suppliers do. That is a fair reason for treating business suppliers as employees, to be sure.
Suppliers Provide Valuable Advice for Your Company
Your employees all have input on what the company is doing right, versus what it may not be doing so well. If you ask your business suppliers their opinions on a lot of things, they are experienced businesses in operation too, and what they have to share may be purely opinion, but it clearly works for them. Ergo, they too, have useful input and valuable advice that is worth taking, if you ask them.
Software Helps You Track Your B2B Relationship with Business Suppliers
If you want to know how to manage business suppliers more like employees and less like suppliers, invest in good B2B eCommerce SaaS software, specifically business supplier management solutions. With this software you can track your orders and inventory from suppliers, keep a virtual rolodex of suppliers, manage payments, and even rate and score your suppliers on the way they operate. You can also have direct communication lines when you integrate the suppliers fully with the software, which only furthers the concept that the suppliers should be more like employees. Once integrated, there are even more tools you can use to manage every supplier and what the supplier does for you based on your company's needs.