The value of creating healthy supplier relationships

#industryinsights  #mitigaterisk  #freightprocurement  #freightanalytics 



When shipment issues arise, it’s not uncommon for the buyer to display an attitude of “it’s your problem, we pay you to fix it”. 

Fair enough – a service has been promised that could not be delivered. Perhaps there is even a clause involved that will result in a penalty being paid out.

Now, I’m not saying a bonus/malus system is necessarily a bad idea, but will the penalty salvage your hurt customer relationship? Oftentimes, there is less of a long-term blow by engaging more with the carrier and trying to solve the issue together.


So how do you do lay the foundation for such a relationship? Here are a few tips to keep in mind when negotiating your next transport solution:

  • Share information about your business. In order for the supplier to be able to give you the best possible service, it’s imperative that they can put themselves in your shoes – just as you put yourselves in their shoes when critically evaluating their offer. Don’t just send a pdf presentation – make sure that the vitals of your business and your priorities are understood.
  • Include contingency plans in your evaluation. What will be each party’s respective responsibilities if things were to go haywire? Can you trust them to divert enough resources to effectively manage the situation?
  • Set up a schedule for regular performance meetings. Not all emergencies happen overnight – some come creeping over time and others might be present without anybody noticing. Make sure you spend time together with the carrier to proactively correct issues before they become big enough to cause real problems.
  • Be open with your intentions and cut the carrier some slack. Not all issues can be blamed on either party. And even if one party is to blame, the problem is shared. If you make it clear that you understand that things can go wrong and that you are prepared to help out if needed – you’ll surely improve your chances of getting open and honest communication back.


These are all ways to minimize the impact of unforeseen circumstances, whether you are able to nip them in the bud or if they’re urgent. In any case, one thing is true – things will be resolved faster, and cheaper, if time is spent on improving the symbiotic relationship you have with your supplier.