Posted on 1/20/2014 11:35 AM by Bill Rossiter

Facility Manager Managing Supplier RelationshipSuppliers provide quality products and services… usually. You expect these products to arrive on time and in budget, and to perform as described. It is refreshing when the supplier is responsive when answering technical questions and providing samples. But that’s where most suppliers’ value to commercial market and property managers ends.

Understanding that commercial building owners and property managers have much more to worry about than just using the right products can be beneficial for both the property manager and the supplier. The everyday challenges of productivity, health and life safety, people management, finances, and even marketing can be areas where suppliers can help… if asked. That’s right. You have to ask for these services because it is out of the normal practices of almost all suppliers.

Suppliers are multi-million and billion dollar companies with hundreds if not thousands of employees in place primarily to manage the internal inner-workings of their business machine.

That’s great, but how can suppliers help you with your challenges? Suppliers have expert resources, which are already paid for and in place. Here are the top five ways to leverage support from your supplier:

  1. Suppliers have logistics planners, to help you with productivity planning.
  2. They have HR managers who can guide you on hiring and employee issues.
  3. Since suppliers run plants, health and life safety is a top priority throughout their organization. Their health and life safety managers can do an audit and provide recommendations to help your workplace become a safer environment.
  4. Suppliers have financial experts who know how to run a business. Let them look into your business and see how they can help you optimize your profit and cash flow models. (this is the hardest one to ask help on, but also one of the most important)
  5. Lastly, suppliers are marketers and spend millions of dollars a year marketing to people like you. So work with their marketing managers to help develop a marketing plan for your own business’ growth.

Your suppliers already have these experts in place doing the work for their internal organization. Let your supplier representative know what your business pain points are, and then ask for their expertise and help. Leveraging your supplier’s resources is a great way to strengthen your relationship with them, and more importantly, build the long-term success of your business.

Bill Rossiter is the CEO of Interrupt, a branding and strategic marketing agency specializing in the building materials and home improvement industries.