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If you had to describe the typical buyer-vendor relationships in the industry today, what would you say? Would you say they are problematic? Adversarial? Suspicious? Not surprisingly, there are often disconnects between the motivations, goals, and barriers that a buyer and vendor bring to the table. Creating and maintaining a positive, strategy focused business relationships between a buyer and vendor plays a critical role in supporting purchasing and contract requirements. In a successful business relationship, the parties strive to achieve common goals, resolve conflicts and share access to resources, information and opportunities. The fundamentals of a successful business relationship is trust in the other party, mutual respect, commitment to the relationship and early involvement.


All SUCCESSFUL working relationships are trust-based. Creating and maintaining a trust-based relationship is important for cooperation. Without it, it is nearly impossible to develop a real and lasting relationship. Often, a lack of trust leads to adversarial relationship where the parties fail to openly communicate and results in further problems. This type of relationship causes surprises that result in delays, increased cost, poor quality as well as claims and litigation.

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A relationship based on trust encourages open, hones and continuing communication that will directly reflect supply chain performance. At the highest level of trust, one party is able to identify with the other’s values and goals and act in a manner that ensures mutual best interest.


Mutual respect is essential to productive business relationships. It is built and maintained through accessibility, communication and responsible behavior. Both buyer and vendor must recognize a common obligation to be approachable; listen; share motivations, goals, desires, observation and concerns; and, within abilities, participate in problem-solving processes together. Mutual respect is communicated by assigning it a value to the view of the other party; however, this does not mean you have to agree with them to communicate respect.


When both parties are committed to the relationship, they will make extraordinary efforts to ensure that the relationship survives. Mutual commitment by everyone in the industry is required to create a cooperative atmosphere for openly exchanging information.

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Early involvement sets the stage for cooperative atmosphere, which increases the likelihood of success by:

  • Enabling a team relationship to evolve in which participants have a clear direction and purpose; and
  • Creating an environment that supports and sustains a mutual understanding of the goals of the acquisition and the motivations of all parties.
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A positive relationship between a buyer and the vendor is essential in fulfilling operational success. Each relationship should promote a strong and positive business alliance in achieving mutually beneficial goals, such as timely delivery and acceptance of products and services, through the use of efficient business practices. Leadership should be working as a team to communicate expectations, agree on common goals and identify and address problems early on to achieve desirable supply chain outcomes.

Article originally published via Growers Network.

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