November '18

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24 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2018 ACCOUNTABILITY At times, there's nothing more difficult than admitting to making a mistake. But, with projects and customers on the line, it's essential to partner with suppliers that take responsibility when things go wrong and actively work toward a resolution. Accountable suppliers will not deflect responsibility, but instead own up to a situ- ation and make adjustments to minimize the damage. Accountability needs to be at the top of your list of qualifications for good sup- pliers. Look for signs of accountability early on in every relationship. TWO-WAY STREET Being a valued customer goes hand in hand with partnering with a quality supplier. The following is a list of attributes a valued shop customer has that attract quality suppliers: • Staying current on payments. Dis- counts are unavailable to customers who continually pay late. Allow your suppliers to effectively service you by paying them punctually. • Being considerate to sales representa- tives. This goes a long way with sup- pliers. Be respectful and not someone who wastes the other's time with unre- alistic expectations. • Effectively communicating needs. Suppliers can't help you if they don't know what you need. Transparency is important to a successful partnership. • Allowing enough time to meet those needs. Poor planning on your part will make it difficult for suppliers to fulfill requirements. A late-placed order puts unnecessary pressure on manufacturers and distributors. You cannot expect your suppliers to make up for your own shortcomings. THAT ULTIMATE RELATIONSHIP The automotive aftermarket has its share of challenges when looking for ideal sup- pliers. One instance that hit home in our restyling business was the need for quality custom wheels with a vast inventory and excellent selection. As luck would have it, a major wheel distribution company was looking to open a new location in our market a year ago. MHT Wheels was a two-day ship time out of Chicago, but now was about to be SHOP- SUPPLIER RELATIONSHIP Strengthening the 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 priority. Accountable suppliers will not deflect respon- sibility, but instead own up to a situation and make adjustments to minimize the damage.

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