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Trust: Coin of the Supply Chain Realm

If ever there was a time you want good relations with vendors, it’s when times are tough. For example, the impact of the pandemic on the economy challenged many businesses while offering opportunities to others. In early 2021, bankruptcy declarations ticked up. As your organization works to survive the storms of change it is critical to have supply partners it can trust.

“Money is the currency of transactions,” says Rachel Botsman, author of Who Can You Trust? “Trust is the currency of interactions.”

Studies have shown the importance and value of good supplier-customer relationships to success. In 2014, Gallup published a study to help companies understand how to do it. Gallup identified five elements in gaining supplier engagement and commitment: clarity, simplicity, integrity, reciprocity and connectivity.

Clarity involves expectations of the two parties and open and honest communications. Simplicity means being “easy to do business with.” Integrity means organizations can count on each doing what they say they will do, and when problems occur, working to resolve them fairly. Reciprocity means parties trade considerations with each other; it’s not one-way. Connectivity means they are set up well for easy exchange of information.

Those are the things suppliers want from customers, and customers want from suppliers in regular times. But challenging times prove those relationships. Trust is the actual coin of the realm.

Those who have trusted relationships will find it easier (if not easy) to work through challenging times. And where relations with suppliers have been merely ‘fine,’ difficult times offer an opportunity to improve them as you work through the challenges. Clarity, simplicity, integrity—these things demand and build trust.

Suppliers will remember the way you did business when times were tough.

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