Mercado | Article | Five future-proof solutions to create successful supplier relationships with Mercado

Five future-proof solutions to create successful supplier relationships with Mercado


Five future-proof solutions to create successful supplier relationships with Mercado

If you import products, chances are that you use suppliers. It’s as simple as that.
What’s not as simple, however, is the process of working with them from thousands of miles away, to plan, buy, and move your products.

Suppliers are the cornerstone of any successful import supply chain— without knowledgeable, talented, and collaborative suppliers in the first mile (the initial 80% of the supply chain), the products you rely on to sell and keep your business afloat are at risk.

So why do so many importers rely on outdated methods like email and spreadsheets to manage hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars’ worth of product with their suppliers? It’s not that it’s easier, faster, or more efficient; rather, it’s because, until now, there simply haven’t been better, more efficient ways to do things.

Today, however, we live in a digital-first world. By bringing the import supply chain online, importers can not only improve their day-to-day relationships within their first mile, but can also impact their downstream operations, with improvements to sales alone far exceeding the cost of investment to do so.

Looking for change in your supply chain, but don’t know where to start? Here are my five future-proof solutions you need to get started:

1. Digitize your import supply chain with Mercado.
While some may argue that emails and spreadsheets are digital, that’s like comparing taxis to Uber. Yes, taxis can get you from A to B, but Uber allows you to get there much faster, more efficiently, and with complete visibility as to where you are along the way. Chances are, you’d much rather take a taxi than an Uber, right?

The impact?
A digital import supply chain offers the same results, enabling importers to connect with their suppliers, automated processes, and maintain visibility of their orders way before they even get on a boat, plane, or train.

2. Make it easier for your suppliers to understand your requirements.
Some importers rely on their suppliers to produce a wide array of product variations. Take an everyday shirt for example: From stitching and button placement, to dyes and textures, each product is unique in its own way. Having a product repository that outlines product specification details will be a saving grace for your suppliers, ultimately reducing the amount of back and forth and/or questions they have about the products.

The impact?
You’ll never have to second-guess that your supplier won’t know what all goes into your products. Resulting in no re-work costs through having to fix incorrect or incomplete products.

3. Put your purchase orders in terms everyone can understand.
How would you like it if your boss sent you an important task to do in a language that was completely foreign to you? Because so many importer-supplier relationships happen overseas, language plays a huge factor in how orders are not only received, but also how products are made. Native language translation allows suppliers to read all Purchase Order information in their language.

The impact?
Improved comprehension and virtually zero risk of miscommunication. Everyone involved knows exactly what is required, every order.

4. Keep all purchase order changes aligned.
The last thing anyone wants to do, is to dig through hundreds of emails to find previous order change requests that have got lost in an inbox. Keeping all changes associated with each individual purchase order in one place makes it easier to find and action them. With built-in change-control mechanisms, all parties can be consulted in the approval process, so you always know whether or not your changes were made clear. And when it comes time for payment, invoices can be generated automatically directly from the order in real-time, reflecting exactly what was ordered and what was received.

The impact?
No more needing to fix costly mistakes or enter a he-said she-said argument over a missed communication. All changes can be tracked against the purchase order, and stick with it throughout the end-to-end planning, manufacturing, and delivery journey. Surprises are fun, but not when it comes to the productions that keep your business afloat.

5. Monitor your end-to-end timeline.
Timing is key when it comes to getting products in-store or directly to your customer. The first mile of the supply chain spans up to six months on average, and a lot can happen during that time. Production monitoring allows importers to set specific milestones and dates for internal teams, suppliers, and 3rd parties (such as Carriers and 3PLs) to report back on progress. So the timeline is never in question when it comes to the status of products.

The impact?
Quite simply, more days = more dollars. The longer you wait to bring your products to market, the more money you risk losing by not having them on the shelves and the costlier it is to deliver them. Knowing the exact status of your products is key to forecasting, budgeting, and ensuring your sales meet your targets.

It’s worth repeating: Your supplier relationships are the most important relationships throughout your supply chain. By creating a digital supplier network, brands and suppliers can build relationships on trust and open communication. Helping to support business growth and improve resilience to market shocks for all parties involved.

Prepare for the holiday season

Mercado was designed to change the way the world trades, transacts, and interacts. The purpose-built import order management system connects brands to the people who make and move their products. Driving greater transparency, increased efficiency, and improved time to market.

Get started with a free demo today to see how you can better improve your supplier relationships.
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