Dan's Corner with Director of Training and Publications Dan Loomis

Recently, I had a conversation with a potential customer who indicated their organization was “burned” by using a single source for all of their print and fulfillment needs. The conversation really made me think.

We all agree that diversification is a great thing when it comes to our financial portfolio. Having “all of your eggs in one basket” is a HUGE risk, and most would add that’s it’s downright foolish. But does that mean that diversification is right for all situations? Do we need to diversify our vendors so we don’t get caught looking like a fool?

I found the comment “burned” somewhat of a glass-half-empty type of attitude. What if instead, we focused on what positive things could result and looked for ways to minimize risks? Much more of a glass-half-full attitude.

I asked myself, “how can organizations minimize these risks?”

This led me to an article I read: “Troubled Times Demand Dynamic Supplier Relationships.” It was focused on vendor/supplier relationships in the print bindery industry, but there was some really good advice that can apply to many business relationships. Here are my key takeaways from this article:

4 Ways to Maximize Your Single Supplier Relationship

  1. Think Partnerships. Many organizations just see their suppliers as people they pay each month. That’s disheartening. Vendors are your partners and want to understand your needs. It’s in everyone’s best interest to do so. They cannot succeed unless you do.
  2. Understand Expectations. Establish clear expectations to facilitate rapport and minimize misunderstandings.
  3. Tap Into Your Vendors Expertise. A good supplier is on top of the latest industry challenges. They want to help. Leverage your collaborative knowledge to help resolve some of your greatest challenges.
  4. Keep Communicating. Strong relationships require honest communication about your needs, goals and expectations.

If you focused your efforts on establishing a strong, healthy relationship with a vendor–someone that you could count on as much as your best friend, your spouse or your best hunting dog–would you still feel compelled to diversify in order to avoid getting “burned?” Give it some thought.

Read more about the value of a single source vendor: 3 Steps to Simplify Your Production, Fulfillment and Distribution Process.

Is your view of your supplier relationship half-full or half-empty?


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