The Best Supplier Management You Can Provide is …

The Best Supplier Management You Can Provide is …

The Best Supplier Management You Can Provide is …

  • On 02/28/2023

It's not uncommon for manufacturers to subscribe to the "vending machine" model of supplier management where they place an order and expect a product to be delivered on time without much thought or effort beyond that. This approach may seem convenient, but it doesn't foster the kind of collaborative relationship that is needed for successful supplier management.

Responsibility of the Supplier and the Customer

Of course, it's the supplier's responsibility to perform and to deliver on time. However, the customer also has a key role to play in ensuring that the supplier is set up for success.

Maintaining Stable Customer Requirements

First and foremost, the best supplier management you can provide is to maintain stable customer requirements in the supplier's systems. If you're a large customer and your supplier is small, changing requirements can be particularly disruptive and overwhelm the supplier's internal production control system. This, in turn, can impair the supplier's ability to deliver not just to you, but to all their other customers as well. It's important to note that changes in requirements can infect the entire supply chain with this kind of change activity.

Avoiding Unnecessary Purchase Order Revisions

To maintain stable customer requirements, you should avoid sending revised purchase orders unless absolutely necessary. A PO revision is the formal way to convey a change in requirements, but changes communicated informally, such as through emails or weekly supplier meetings, can be just as disruptive. Ultimately, these changes are primarily the customer's responsibility.

Questioning Changes

This may be hard to do if you feel the changes you're flowing down to your suppliers are warranted. However, if your requirements are constantly changing, it may be a clear signal that your company is doing something wrong. It's essential to take a step back and seriously consider what you're doing and why you're doing it.


In conclusion, successful supplier management requires collaboration between the supplier and the customer. While it's the supplier's responsibility to perform and deliver on time, the customer also has a critical role to play in maintaining stable requirements and avoiding unnecessary changes. By working together, both parties can achieve success and build a mutually beneficial relationship.


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