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Suppliers are as equally important to you as customers

Suppliers are as equally important to you as customers

20th of August, 2020

How are you? How are you doing? What help do you need? How can I support your needs?

These are questions that we have all been encouraged to ask our customers during this pandemic and the lockdown.

Yes, of course, it is really important to keep in close, regular contact with your customers: to let them know that you are still in business and are ready to support their needs.

But what about the other end of your value chain? What about your suppliers and service providers? Have you reached out and asked them the same questions that you have asked your customers?

We all need a strong and supportive supply chain; our suppliers and service providers are vital to our success.

  • They provide us with the materials we transform into our products that we then sell to our customers.
  • They provide services that we utilise to make ourselves more efficient and more effective in the delivery of our value to our customers.
  • They also provide us with innovative solutions that help us to gain a competitive edge in our marketplace.
  • We can also leverage them to our reduce costs and increase our margins

So our suppliers and service providers are extremely important but:

  • How secure are they?
  • How are they doing?
  • What help do they need from us?

Losing a supply chain partner could be as big a blow to us as losing our biggest customer. Even in the best case, it will be a major distraction from your business.

Two significant events are affecting your supply chain now and well into next year: an economic recession and the repercussions of Brexit.

Therefore, it is important that as you come out from lockdown that you are focused upon your supply chain. The last thing you need right now are issues that prevent you from delivering value to your customers.

So, my recommendation to you today is to view supplier relationship management as equally as important to you as customer relationship management.

If you haven't already done so, please to reach into your supply chain. Have good, detailed discussions:

  • Make sure that everything is well, that your suppliers are ready and able to support your recovery plans.
  • Understand what the issues are further down through the supply chain
  • If you need an innovate solution from a key service provider make sure that this is booked in before they are too busy to support you or worse not there at all.
  • Test their resilience plan alongside your plans so that your full value chain is ready to overcome whatever bumps in the road you need to endure so that you can truly support your customers.
  • Understand what has changed in their business and the supply chain. There may be threats that you need to guard against, but there may be new opportunities too. These opportunities could help your business to be more successful.
  • Is now the right time to outsource something…or do you now want to in-source by turning a supplier into a partner in your business?
  • Does a new risk mean that you need to in-source or change your current supplier?

All these are important questions to ask at any time but are extremely important to ask now.


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