4 Ways to Improve Your HVAC Supplier Relationships
4 MIN. READ
Your supplier relationships can make or break your HVAC business. Supplier relationships can be rife with contention, and mistrust can make it harder to get the products you need to meet your customers’ needs. Relationships built on trust and respect make it much easier to navigate the difficult world of procurement. These four tips can help you build better relationships with your HVAC suppliers.
Evaluate your HVAC suppliers
Evaluate the vision and mission of your suppliers to find ones that align with your own goals. You should seek out suppliers that have proven themselves in the marketplace and that have established a good reputation in the industry. Having a partnership with your suppliers that is based on the same basic business fundamentals will keep your partnership in sync.
Do you share the same vision? It is easier to work with a supplier who has the same worldview and brand vision. So it is important for you to ask questions. This is a great way to understand what the supplier’s core values and principles are.
Are you aligned on energy efficiency? Do they value sustainable practices? Do you have similar charitable pursuits? These are just a few examples of what you can ask to learn if your teams are aligned and compatible.
Think long-term. Long-term relationships with industry leaders can help carry your business through challenges. It is not uncommon for businesses to have long-standing relationships with suppliers that last for decades.
This sort of stability works well for both parties. Knowing you have steady, reliable HVAC suppliers that can provide you with your routine items is reassuring. They will also appreciate your business, and they can count on you for your continued patronage.
Communicate openly with your suppliers
Discuss your concerns and questions and be upfront about any challenges. Honesty is the best policy. Being able to have open and frank conversations with your HVAC suppliers will usually result in a mutual understanding. Here are some tips for improving your supplier communication.
- Pick up the phone. Most concerns and questions can be quickly resolved with a quick phone call or an in-person chat. Don’t let issues fester without addressing them. Emailing can be efficient, but when things get sticky and need to be straightened out, it is best to pick up the phone and have a direct conversation. These talks do not have to be confrontational; rather, they can be straightforward and to the point.
- Discuss challenges. Be honest about your own challenges to make sure your suppliers can also trust you. Most people prefer upfront communications. Do not beat around the bush, just be real. Your suppliers will appreciate your authenticity and that will aid in building a trusting relationship.
- Get it in writing. Always have the details of your arrangements written down in a signed contract to avoid misunderstandings and hold each other accountable for your agreement. This eliminates any potential issues. Typically you would want the terms to be on your “paper” and under your terms, but keep the deal fair to both parties. And if a dust-up occurs, the documentation will put it to bed.
The art of communication is alive, and those who can grasp it will benefit from long, healthy relationships — in business and in personal matters.
Know your ROI
Calculate the ROI of your vendor relationships. It may seem a bit odd to try and gauge ROI from your supplier network, but it is important to do so. While suppliers are not thought of as a traditional investment, in reality, they are an investment, and should be prioritized as such.
Think of it like this. If you invest the time and resources to develop and improve your supplier relationships, as they mature you will be able to operate more efficiently, learn valuable intel, and save money with less effort. Let us dig a bit deeper.
Key factors to take into account are product service and quality issues, price volatility, and contract non-compliance.
If you are dealing with suppliers that have constant service issues and product quality concerns, you are not getting a good return on your investment. If you are having to chase down your suppliers to keep their contracts compliant, this is a waste of your valuable time and resources and should be a red flag.
Focus and invest in those suppliers who show you consistently that they can deliver on the issues and standards that you require. Set your expectations and be transparent. If you need x amount of filters every quarter without fail, this is your standard, so you need to work with those suppliers who can make that happen.
Concentrate on efficiency. You run a fast-paced and deadline-driven business, so you cannot be held back by suppliers that infringe on your standards. Work with suppliers who are nimble, flexible, and mesh with your obsession with efficiency.
Be objective. Measuring these factors objectively can help you find the best suppliers to work with over time. Make each interaction and dealing with suppliers be a learning experience. Examine your needs and determine whether the HVAC suppliers you deal with are up to snuff.
Separate the wheat from the chaff. In time, you will be able to quickly realize if a supplier relationship is worth saving and investing in or not. Aim to have a stellar stable of suppliers that can position your business to be a leader in your local market.
Technology can help you find and monitor suppliers
It would be a painstaking endeavor to try and manage and maintain supplier relationships manually. Use technology to find new suppliers and track those relationships over time. Software has the ability to help you find, vet, and track supplier performance. The Raiven platform can help you find new suppliers and track multiple factors related to supplier performance and rating.
Raiven has a host of features that help businesses focus on supplier engagement, management, and the ability to keep suppliers in compliance. This benefits your business by connecting you to the proven top HVAC suppliers in the industry, those who can provide the service and supplies you need.
You will be able to operate your business more efficiently and you will save time and money in the process. Reach out today for more information.