Choosing a Supply Partner

Choosing a Supply Partner vs. a Supplier

By definition a “supplier” is a party that supplies goods or services. In supply chain management, the term “supplier” is used frequently. When a buyer and/or company is looking for the supply of goods or services, one should always choose the party that offers more than just that particular good or service. They should choose a partner, a company that is willing to go above and beyond in the short-term and long-term. With that being said, if you’re in the process of sourcing a supply opportunity, always, and I mean always, choose a supply partner over a supplier. Below, are three characteristics that differentiate a supply partner from a supplier. We have found that putting in the extra time and effort up front to ensure your supply partner has the following will lead to dramatically enhanced operations in the long term.

1. Transparent Communication

The concept of transparent communication isn’t as simple as it sounds, and many suppliers do not embrace it. A supply partner surely embraces this concept and will always keep you updated on the current happenings with your good or service. A supply partner will always lay it on the line whether the news is good or bad. Being that the world of supply chain is very dynamic in nature, it is important to have a partner that is honest and will work with you through the thick and thin.

2. Cost Optimization Sharing

In today’s competitive world, nearly every company tries to optimize their costs over time. A supply partner is continuously looking to improve and not only optimize costs on their end but also share costs savings with you. Whether it be a change in design, improved process, or discount in yearly price, a supply partner will be happy to share their ideas and benefits. It behooves you to go the extra mile to find the right partner who is always looking to improve and therefore helping you to improve along the way.

3. Similar Goal(s)


Successful companies have short and long term goals and set out to achieve them. A true supply partner should have similar company and program goals when compared to your organization. A supply partner will be sure that their goals and milestones are aligned at the beginning of a program and will work in unison with you, to make sure those milestones and goals are achieved. If for some reason, there is a hiccup in the goal, a supply partner will work with you on a solution to overcome the issue. When working with a supplier partner, your company will also see quicker results and goal achievement.

By definition a “partner” is a party that shares a common interest or participates in achieving a common goal. When selecting the right company for a supply opportunity, ALWAYS spend the necessary time to conduct thorough due diligence to ensure you choose a supply partner over a supplier. Supply Partners will act as an extension of your team: informing you of critical next steps, sharing in cost reductions and working to achieve a common goal which will allow your organization to prosper in the short and long term.

-Tony