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Why less is more when it comes to supplier management

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The old adage “less is more” could well have been referring to supplier management. While the economic climate just seems to get tougher and more competitive, businesses need to find ever more creative ways to cut costs and become more streamlined and efficient. One great place to start is by looking at your supplier management. Having fewer stationery suppliers, for example, doesn’t just make good financial sense; it makes the day-to-day running of your business easier and simpler.

A few great relationships are worth so much more than many mediocre ones.

You rely on your suppliers for products that make your products or services possible. Maintaining healthy relationships with them is crucial – if you’re in their good books, they’re more likely to go out of their way for you in times of need. That said, trying to sustain excellent relationships with tens of suppliers will only result in poorer quality relationships. Reducing the number of suppliers on your books means you guarantee better quality relationships: one of the most valuable aspects of business that no amount of money can buy. 

Ensuring the longevity of your suppliers’ business ensures the longevity of yours.

Choosing suppliers who can provide you with as many products as possible – so you only need to use one supplier in the place of three or four – benefits both parties. By providing them with larger orders and more business, the more likely it is that the supplier will survive in the long run. This saves you the inconvenience of finding new suppliers and having to forge new relationships. Larger orders mean economies of scale for your suppliers – there is only a marginal increase of resources and time needed to pack an order of 100 products compared to an order of 10 – and with it, improved efficiency. The more efficient your suppliers become, the more you benefit, too. 

Using fewer suppliers avoids the logistical nightmare of processing multiple deliveries.

Two or three suppliers means that there are only two or three deliveries per day, week or month you have to keep track of. Trying to schedule ten or more deliveries, on the other hand, is a logistical nightmare. Each delivery has to be processed and accounted for and then unpacked. Not only are you suffering but every department involved in dealing with deliveries suffers: the finance department, operations and administration. The solution is to find a supplier who can deliver everything you need at once. Setting up a reliable, recurring delivery at the same time every week will make your job that little bit less stressful.

The more suppliers you have, the more legal paperwork you have to do.

An essential aspect of supplier management is monitoring and evaluating your supplier. This is where the Service Level Agreement (SLA) comes in: making sure both parties stick to the rules of what’s expected. This contract is your benchmark for determining whether your supplier is delivering or not. The more suppliers you have to monitor, the bigger the legal headache from more contracts. Fewer supplies makes monitoring them much simpler, making it easier to ensure they are sticking to the SLA. 

Supplier management and finding the right stationery supplier needn’t be a thing to dread. Business is about working smart, not just hard, and streamlined supplier management will help you do just that. Contact OfficeBox today to find out how partnering with the right stationery supplier can help your business operate smarter and more efficiently.
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David Adams
11 December 2017
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