November '18

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22 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2018 A good, solid partnership with your suppliers can be as critical as nur- turing a long-term relationship with your best customers. Without one, the other may not be possible. Bringing aftermarket goods and services to market—a $40 billion dollar market at that—can be both difficult and rewarding at the same time. Smoothing out the ups and downs of buying and selling the right products from the right suppliers can be a difficult task. Aligning your shop with partner com- panies that promote similar values is a key ingredient in growing market share. In fact, these partnerships are so crucial that not having them can make running your business similar to driving off-road in the family sedan. The shop-supplier relationship is never a one-way street. We cannot expect a manu- facturer to go the extra mile for us and then turn around and pay them whenever the feeling moves us. Here, then, are some areas to focus on as you work to strengthen relationships with your best suppliers. TIMELY DELIVERY To meet customer demand and provide excellent customer service, you need the products you offer on time. This is only possible if your suppliers make you a pri- ority. The stronger the relationship, the greater the possibility of receiving your goods on time or even ahead of schedule. With 38 percent of all aftermarket products being purchased through ecommerce channels, the ease of making a purchase with just a few keystrokes has reduced the acceptable wait time for delivery immensely. Shortened consumer attention spans put a whole new twist on the concept of fast food. Thanks to companies like Amazon, waiting just 24 hours for a product can seem like a lifetime. Therefore, to meet your customers' expectations, work with suppliers that can get you what you need, when you need it. OPEN COMMUNICATION Have you ever worked with a supplier that withholds information? It typically happens when they need to convey something they know you may not want to hear. This is most common when production delays occur and the supplier realizes that previously agreed upon shipping dates are unattainable. Good suppliers will be open and direct. They understand that you actually have customers that you've made commitments to. They also understand that being unin- formed about a bad situation in most cases makes it worse. Pay close attention to how a supplier communicates with you. It can make or break a successful partnership. Solid partnerships are a two-way street. By Dino Perfetti SHOP- SUPPLIER Aligning your shop with partner companies that promote similar values is a key ingredient in growing market share. RELATIONSHIP Strengthening the

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