The 4 secrets to managing ongoing material purchases

Sourcing top quality materials at reasonable prices is a goal of all businesses. When you’ve found suppliers that you like working with there are still things you can do to get the best value for your purchases. 

Here are the top four secrets to managing your ongoing relationships with suppliers to save money. 

Build strong relationships with good suppliers

It goes without saying that building up strong relationships with suppliers can help you secure good deals and keep your finger on the pulse of your supply chain. 

Keeping communication channels open for feedback and updates can help you stay up-to-date and get better service. Knowing who you work with within the suppliers business can help you to get quicker and more personalised service, as you’ll be working with someone familiar with your business.

Keeping your supplier's contact information and order history in your CRM can help you keep strong relationships no matter who is doing the ordering. Anyone in your business can check what you order from that supplier, their prices and the best contact to reach out to. It means your business keeps running smoothly and ordering doesn’t need to be delayed when people are away.

Learn more: Visit Business Queensland for more tips

Know what you have already

Knowing what’s in stock and how you use it can have so many benefits. One WorkGuru client, Hydromech Hoist & Crane, has stated that being able to understand their current stock has saved them tens of thousands in material costs.

In the past, we might have missed $50,000 of stock we had and might have ordered more in just because we didn’t know we had it. That just can’t happen anymore.

Michael, Hydromech

By keeping a record of what you have, as well as a well-organised stock location, you can save money on products that you didn’t need to buy. Using FIFO inventory management can help you understand the costs of your existing stock too to make sure that your business is equipped to deal with price fluctuations. 

Understand your data to negotiate better

When you order stock on a regular basis, you may be able to access better deals with you’re regular suppliers. Take a look back at your order history to see how much you have spent with your suppliers in the last year and see if you have the buying power to swing a good deal. See if there are any ways that you can reduce the number of times you order to increase your order quantity for the commonly used stock - it will help you save on landed costs and might give you access to bulk buy discounts.

By reporting on your past data you can uncover these opportunities to save money while buying the same products from the same supplier. 

Knowing your stock & ordering history can help save you from making unnecessary purchases. It can also help to know the costs of your common materials and how they fluctuate to plan your purchases better. Do any of your materials have seasonal pricing? Are their prices commonly fluctuating? These factors could help you plan out your purchases to maximise your orders. 

Keep good records

Having good records can not just help you make better decisions in the future, but also make sure that you are getting what you pay for right now. 

Purchase orders can help to confirm both to the supplier, and for your internal staff what you’re expecting in terms of materials and costs. This is always important but can be particularly helpful if the person ordering isn’t the person receiving stock, or handling the bills sent by your supplier. It means your whole team stay on the same page, and you have a firm way to check what was expected vs what happened. 

Knowing what’s actually received, and what’s left to receive can also help to make sure you haven’t spent money on something that you don’t want or that never arrived. It can also mean having a better understanding of your costs when your records are good. Plus, keeping track of your usual cost and quantities can help you assess new suppliers prices and negotiate. 

Want help managing your purchases? Get a free WorkGuru.io walkthrough and trial to see the powerful stock control and purchasing tools that can help your business. Get in touch today.

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