One of the secrets to the long-term success of any business is a company’s ability to innovate and change as conditions evolve.
And while some innovation is expected to come directly from you as a business owner and your team, all innovation doesn’t and shouldn’t happen internally. Instead, you should be able to lean on those trusted partners with whom you’ve built a strong relationship to help you look for new ways to do business.
Here are 5 key ways having a strong relationship with your vendors can boost innovation:
They Extend Your Reach
Think of your vendor relationships like a business version of the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game. You can’t possibly know everyone, but by building strong relationships with your vendors, you may be able to open yourself up to taking advantage of their other business connections.
Say you work with a trusted provider of shipping materials, but don’t currently have a vendor that can handle refrigerated shipping when you decide to change up your product offerings.
Rather than you having to go out and vet a bunch of refrigerated shipping providers on your own, your shipping material supplier may have a recommendation of someone with whom they work, and can make the introduction for you. This makes the task of finding a refrigerated shipping provider much less daunting for you.
They Can Help You in a Pinch
Emergencies arise, no matter how carefully you plan. But that doesn’t mean you’re entirely on your own to figure things out when they do.
If you find yourself in a situation where a supplier drops out or a critical piece of your production line fails, having a strong relationship with your vendors can help you get that problem solved quickly and more affordably. The more carefully you work to build strong relationships, the easier it will be to find someone to help you out when you really need it.
But don’t forget that relationships go both ways; it’s always a good idea to help your vendors out if they’re in a pinch, as long as you’re able to do so.
They Can Improve Their Existing Offerings for You
Just because you’re purchasing a specific product or service from one of your vendors doesn’t mean it can’t change if that offering doesn’t meet your needs.
If you’ve got a strong relationship with your vendors and they trust the feedback you provide, you could effect change to the products and services they offer to tailor them more to your specific requests. This, in turn, improves how you’re able to do business and can continue to drive innovation and growth within your business.
Relationships Can Remain Regardless of Business Success
People don’t often stay at a single company for their entire working career, but that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain that relationship past their employment with your vendor.
If you build a strong relationship with someone at one of your vendors and they leave for another opportunity, continue that relationship via email or social media if possible. In the future, if the person runs into an opportunity or service they think you might be interested in, they may reach out and that could pay off big for your business.
Your 3PL Partner on the East Coast
If you’re looking for a third-party logistics partner to handle some or all of your warehousing and logistics needs, Cannon Hill Logistics can help. We have more than 35 years of experience working with businesses of all shapes and sizes, and we create custom solutions to help you reach your goals. Call today for a quote!