Developing a positive business relationship with vendors for moderate to high-end buying is mandatory for best results. You can’t possibly know everything, and it helps to have someone you trust to give you information. Who better to help you and your staff, than a vendor with whom you have cultivated a good buying relationship.
Finding a low price is always gratifying; however, in the long run, purchasing for price only can come back to haunt you. Certainly, on smaller, regular purchases such as office supplies, search out the lowest price you can find. In fact, most of your larger office supply stores will guarantee the lowest price.
For larger or more specialized purchases, you and your staff should work closely with vendors to create a win-win situation for all concerned.
Here are some tips for creating positive relationships with vendors:
- Realize that while you expect value for the money you spend with a vendor, the vendor is also in business to make a profit and has to cover overhead expenses that may not seem obvious to you or your staff. Always let your vendor know you are interested in a mutually profitable relationship.
- Use your vendor representatives as a resource for information and advice. However, be respectful of the time your representative spends with you. Remember, time is money for both of you.
- Only one staff member should be in charge of purchasing supplies you use frequently, such as office supplies and orthopedic supplies. That staff member can build relationships with vendors and must be informed of allowable bulk purchasing and dollar limits for free shipping. Your vendors will also appreciate the continuity of working with one point person. If you allow all staff members to order products, your buying will be out of control and so will your cash flow.
You should also:
- Be sure to take advantage of “frequent buyer” discounts and rebates.
- Simplify your product resale line to reduce confusion in ordering and selling. Carry a “quality” line of products and a “moderately priced” line of products. Giving your patients a choice is a good thing; however, overwhelming them with too many choices is not.
- Ask your representative to contact you and your designated team member regularly and advise you of specials on the products you order.
Buying mistakes you should avoid include:
- Using a company representative for product knowledge and information and then purchasing the products elsewhere for less, or worse yet, mail order. This type of practice will alienate you from your representative and is simply not professional.
- Ordering from anyone answering the phone instead of asking for your designated representative. Usually, your local rep will be able to give you a better price and more information.
- Placing unreasonable demands on your vendor. Be realistic and understanding, just like you would want to be treated by your patients.
Creating healthy, mutually satisfactory relationships with vendors can only enhance your purchasing power and ultimately create less stress. What more could you ask for?