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Working with your suppliers to obtain quality materials


Total quality management (TQM) is a business process improvement program that focuses on reducing or eliminating waste to produce a product that fits the customer and company needs.

One way to become successful with TQM is to work with your suppliers to obtain quality materials.

Your suppliers must provide you with quality materials in order for you to meet the needs of your customers. Not only do you need quality materials from your suppliers, they also need to deliver your materials in a timely manner. Your workers must be properly trained to take the materials and develop them into quality products. They must also work hard to build the relationships with your suppliers to continue keeping everyone satisfied.

In the past companies would threaten their suppliers in order to get quality products. This method has been left in the past because suppliers will respond by cutting you off from their supplies. TQM focuses on doing business in a quality manner. Instead of demanding perfection from your suppliers, you simply establish a relationship with them that is built upon trust, cooperation, and teamwork.

The partnership you build with your suppliers must be successful for both companies. You must provide them with timely payments and clear instructions. In return they will provide you with timely, quality products.

So how do you form a partnership with your suppliers? It is not as hard as you might think. Follow the Japanese method of Kaizen and Kanban. These strategies focus on not only improving your business processes but they focus on improving your personal relationships.

Form relationships with companies by being respectful when you talk to them, do not bark orders at this, this starts to cause contention between customers and suppliers. Build a relationship of trust and open communication through clear directions and timely payments.

One area to build a relationship with your suppliers is during a time when you have a problem.

This problem could be through your fault or their fault. Whatever the reason, handle the situation appropriately. Do not use threats to get their attention, instead handle the situation professionally. Encourage them to get the supplies to you by a specific date or ask them to adjust your price to compensate for the additional delivery time. Do not use a bossy tone, be conversational with them but be firm enough so you know they get your point.

Before you enter into a relationship with your suppliers, get to know about their company. Make sure you understand their capabilities and do not push them beyond those capabilities.

Work together to plan for large inventory orders as this will help you both build up a relationship built on trust and clear communication.

Communication is essential for any relationship to succeed. Far too often businesses will make an order with their suppliers and assume they will understand what you mean when you carelessly give them orders. While some suppliers may understand this, it can quickly cause confusion with many of your suppliers. Always give them clear instructions to eliminate waste.

To obtain quality materials you need to motivate your employers to sell their products to you. Once you sign a contract, they often forget about being enthusiastic about their products and they don't have the motivation to contact you with new products and bonuses. To keep them motivated about supplying you with quality products in a timely manner, praise them for their service when you receive the products. Promise them that as long as they continue selling you quality materials, you will continue to purchase from them. This is a great incentive to keep them motivated to satisfy you.

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