The importance of supplier relationships

It is vital for any business to build strong relationships with suppliers. A long-term relationship with a supplier means you have a greater level of mutual trust and understanding.  It can also lead to increased efficiency and reduced cost in some cases.

At MCS, our main focus is on providing exceptional customer service which helps us to build strong, honest relationships with our clients.  It’s equally important, however, that we extend that way of working to our suppliers too.  The right suppliers will share a mirrored work ethic and if they are prepared to be as flexible, problem solving and committed to you as you are to your own business, peers and leaders, then you’ve struck gold!

Maintaining strong relationships with key suppliers will have positive long-term benefits that will ultimately play a significant role in the success of your business.

Screen Shot 2018 08 20 at 11.42.20

(Sign and digital show with a print supplier)

We do our very best to build relationships with our own suppliers, and treat them as an extension of the MCS team… so much so that when they pop over, we’ll get the kettle on and have a catch up over a cuppa before talking business!  (Especially when they’ve brought biccies with them!)

Here’s just a few reasons why building strong relationships with your suppliers is so important:

  • Unconditional support. Good suppliers will be there to support you when you most need it, without question or comment.  If we ever encounter a tricky situation, for example if something has damaged in transit, we have a network of suppliers who, if needed, will go above and beyond to help us out.
  • They get to know you. They understand your company. A good supplier will know how you run as a business, so can suggest new / innovative ideas, materials or solutions you might be interested in.  They also know your quirks, likes and dislikes so when time is precious, they can confidently make decisions on your behalf if needed, making the whole process more streamlined and efficient.
  • They make your business, their business.  They understand your industry! For us, the events industry can be very fast-paced and often, no matter how well you have pre-planned elements of an event, there is always something which is added on last minute.  Whether it is a delegate handouts, or an extra breakout session which needs support, our suppliers understand that sometimes we cannot foresee everything and if they can help us at the final hour, they will do their very best.
  • They understand your budget.  A good supplier will always work to save you money and will recommend cost effective solutions, as well as offering bulk-buy discounts. There is also an inceased possibility of negotiating rates if you have a strong relationship with your supplier.
  • They get to know your clients. Many of our suppliers know our clients and have fantastic relationships with them. This means that suppliers understand our clients’ needs and improves customer satisfaction further.  The major factor here is that we trust those relationships and it benefits everyone and generates even greater collaborative knowledge and expertise.
  • Collaborative working.  Without stepping on anyones toes, a good supplier wants to look at the bigger picture to ensure they’re proposing ideas correctly.  And that can often mean interagency working.  We try to bring our suppliers in at the start of a client brief – they are specialised in their area of work and we want their expert opinion to create the very best for our clients.  Working closely alongside each supplier throughout a job ensures good communication.  We will also use this collaborative working to share ideas, for example our graphic designer recently attended a trade show and invited one of our suppliers to join him so they could discuss ideas, new methods and see what creative solutions we can offer our clients. This way of working with our suppliers is something we pride ourselves on and not only benefits us and our supplier, but, most importantly our client by providing the best service possible.

We’ve always said that we only want to work with nice people, but that works both ways.  Good supplier relationships are built on mutual trust and an unquestionable commitment to customer service.  We’ve built some incredible relationships over our 30 year history with both clients and suppliers that we hope will continue for many years to come.

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