How Strong Trading Relationships Help Win and Retain Customers

How Strong Trading Relationships Help Win and Retain Customers

The most effective supply chains are built on a firm foundation of cooperation between suppliers and distributors. Strong trading relationships have a significant impact on just about every measure of performance: customer service, transportation and storage costs, risk, forecasting, lead times, and even product development.

The best way to ensure that your supply chain is capable of meeting an ever-expanding range of customer needs more effectively than your competitors is to make collaboration a top priority. By focusing on transparency, data sharing, and increasing the efficiency of joint operations, supply chain partners will attract and retain more customers than ever before.

Visibility is critical for today’s supply chains. Retailers and distributors can use shared data for accurate demand forecasting, capacity planning, quality management, and order fulfillment. Robust data collection and analysis helps supply chain partners quickly adjust to changing market conditions and track other changes in consumer behavior, which allows them to orient operations and agreements around relevant insights.

Significant majorities of consumers expect ease, speed, and personalization, and supply chain partners will only be able to meet these demands if they work together.

Strive for continuous improvement in your trading relationships. Even healthy supply chain relationships can always be improved, which is why partners should constantly search for ways to improve the quality and accessibility of data, reduce costs and delivery times, eliminate waste, and manage risk.

Suppliers and distributors can build sustainable relationships by sharing information across all segments of the supply chain, bringing goals and strategies into alignment, and accounting for changing consumer demand and economic circumstances with a robust rebate management platform.

Trust and Mutual Benefit

Respondents to a 2020 Deloitte study agree that the two most important factors in supply chain collaboration are “trusted relationships with the other party” and “mutual benefit for you and the other party.” Suppliers and distributors that don’t prioritize collaboration will get left behind.

Use digital resources. Supply chains face unprecedented competitive pressures, but they also have powerful digital resources at their disposal to meet these challenges. However, while more than three-quarters of companies in the sector are increasing the use of technology in response to recent supply chain disruptions, a Bain survey finds that just 8% have “achieved their targeted business outcomes from investments in digital technology.”

One of the most important digital tools for the maintenance of strong supply chain relationships is a data-driven rebate management platform. Rebates create incentives for suppliers and distributors to continue working together, as they bring projections about delivery schedules, consumer demand, and other variables into alignment with reality.

Supply chain partners need a shared digital platform that allows them to communicate, collaborate, and scrutinize the same data to get clarity on how rebates are calculated and what their agreements cover.

By forging relationships around transparency, integrated operations, and data-driven flexibility, supply chain partners put themselves in a position to give customers top-notch service and outpace competitors.