Building a Strong Supplier Relationship: The 5 Essentials

Building a Strong Supplier Relationship - The 5 EssentialsThere’s never been a more important time to have strong supplier relationships—here are the 5 key indicators showing that they are on the right track.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply chain landscape has changed. Companies have seen their supply chains disrupted at a scale unlike anything witnessed in a long time. With that said, there are a number of steps companies should be trying to take for the sake of overcoming the impediments that comes with a global pandemic.

One of the most significant among them being strengthening their supplier relationships. Whether these relationships are new or old, what matters is that they display mutual value. In this trying time, it’s as critical as it’s ever been that companies build something with their suppliers that lays a foundation for a resilient supply chain. For now and the future.

This article by Morai Logistics highlights the 5 most significant markers of a strong supplier relationship.

Mutual Respect

No relationship can be long lasting in its success without a feeling of respect going both ways. Part of this respect will come from a company’s and a supplier’s reputation. If they’re both in good standing, a degree of underlying respect will emanate from that. However, respect is also a mindset. If supply chain leaders don’t go into talks with their suppliers with integrity, even a healthy reputation might not be enough to keep the respect from diminishing in the relationship.


Collaboration plays an integral role in supply chain success. As such, it’s no surprise that that extends to suppliers as well. It doesn’t matter how strong a supply chain is independent of its suppliers. Nor does it matter how reliable a supplier is if they aren’t aligned with their customers. Companies and their suppliers have to have a shared vision.

It is only through that collective vision that each party can get the most out of their relationship. What’s more, by not allowing the relationship to devolve into a back and forth struggle, a company’s supply chain efficiency goes up considerably.


Communication is central to a healthy relationship. As obvious as that might be, what’s a little less so is how to go about communicating effectively. Perhaps the most vital component for doing so is transparency. In no small part it’s important because it shows respect, which, as mentioned earlier, plays a huge role in a healthy relationship. It also shows trust, good faith, and a great deal more.

The following from an article by Supply Chain Dive explains,

Transparency means full disclosure of any obstacles, intentions, limitations and issues you’ve discovered — in-house or anywhere in the supply chain — as soon as possible. It’s also productive to offer, in good faith, to work together to fix them.

Technological Investment

Supply chains always need to be innovating. Now as much as ever before. Moreover, that innovation has to be holistic. That means including suppliers in any advancements that are being engineered. Investing in the latest and greatest in technology together is not only mutually beneficial from the standpoint of what the technology brings. An added positive that arises from it is that it creates a sense of shared prosperity.

Attend to Yourself First

Finally, perhaps the most straightforward mark of a strong supplier relationship comes with internal competency and success. After all, if a company is profitable to work with and gives a supplier a competitive edge, then that’s as strong a reason as any as to why a supplier will want to continue working with them. The same is true the other way around, in the case of a highly successful supplier. In success, a stronger relationship is formed organically.

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