Managing Supplier Relationships the Digital Way

Working with suppliers is a key aspect of any business. In the care sector, managers must deal with a wide range of suppliers, from medical kit and equipment vendors to food and drink specialist, training companies and external therapists and mobile service providers. The secret to securing better financial deals and enjoying successful long-term relationships with important suppliers is all in how you manage your working relationships with them.

If you can build mutual trust and loyalty, and maintain excellent communications, this will go a long way towards keeping dedicated, efficient suppliers on side. As with so many business admin tasks, turning to digital management software such as Care Vision can help streamline this process and keep track of how your supplier relationships are progressing. Digital tools like Care Vision offer users transparency, speed and accuracy when carrying out business transactions with suppliers, along with a number of other key advantages.

Easier information sharing

Moving from paper-based supplier information to handling everything online saves space, effort and time, that much is clear. However, it also helps get the information to those who need it quickly and easily, while keeping sensitive data safe and secure, such as pricing details and quotes. Digital systems can also help vendors and customers share supplier relationship agreements, send and receive changes to orders and pricing 24/7 and share updates. By keeping track of what’s happening digitally, it is also straightforward to share updates about new staff members, new products and fluctuating availability details.

Faster payment processing

Paying suppliers correctly and on time is extremely important, not only for the suppliers’ own cashflow, but for the sake of maintaining trust and mutual co-operation between your two organisations. Just as you would pay your staff on time, so you must honour supplier invoicing and billing arrangements and not leave them out of pocket due to payment errors and delays. Care Vision combines procurement tools with budgeting functions, invoicing features and links to accounting packages. All of this means care managers can have the financial details and tools they need at their fingertips in order to pay suppliers in full and on time.

Targeted communications

Another major advantage to going digital for care home management tasks in general – and certainly for supplier relationship management – is the ease by which you are able to communicate electronically. This enables managers to produce targeted communications for staff, suppliers and residents to ensure that they are buying the right supplies at the right time, in the correct quantities and for the best available price. A digital supplier management system also keeps all contact information and updated details in one place for easy access when needed. You can use it to track when you sent and received messages to and from suppliers to keep track of what has been promised when and by whom.

Effective problem solving

A business’s supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link and no working relationship will come without any problems or issues to resolve. Using digital systems to help iron out issues with suppliers can be a good way to speed up the process, ensure that information is disseminated among the right people and that communications are tracked and followed up appropriately. Digital care management systems can be very useful for evaluating risk factors in supplier behaviour and collating details about new vendors. Managers can also use it to file references, track reviews and input details around years of trading, pricing patterns and any correspondence around queries, complaints and concerns.

Negotiation time

When a contract with a supplier comes to its conclusion, or there is a need to renegotiate the terms of an existing relationship, having a full record of previous interactions on digital file is invaluable, Managers can see what went well and which issues arose and use these details to negotiate the best pricing terms for the care home’s needs. Contracts can be stored confidentially on the cloud and shared with legal specialists, fellow mangers and others who need to see them safely and quickly. Negotiations can be conducted digitally too, to create a record of what is discussed and to ensure that everyone is copied into the key discussion points. This record-keeping is also extremely useful when it comes to financial auditing and talking about budgets and costings for future financial periods.

Recent News