As with any supplier your organization uses, a strong relationship with your vending machine company is essential to the the success of your vending program. The service will likely deteriorate if the partnership begins to fall by the wayside.
When setting up a new supplier for your company--be it vending machines or something else--it's important to begin establishing a strong relationship with them from the start. Here are three ways to get the most out of your vendor relationships.
3 Ways To Optimize Vendor Relationships
Take Time to Develop the Relationship
Relationships are everything, and it's important to take the time to get to know the vendor. For many supplier relationships, this usually involves social activities. But it's a little different with vending machine services: Fostering a relationship with your vendor probably won't involve going to dinner or playing a round of golf.
What else can you do? There are two main ways:
1) Treat the on-site delivery and technicians as part of your team.
2) Help them grow their business.
Perhaps one of the best ways to strengthen vendor partnerships is to treat any on-site members from the supplier as part of your team, because in a way they are.
Even though they're only there for a few minutes filling up the Coke machine or the snack machine, think about what that provides you and your staff. It provides everyone with a convenient way to get a refreshing beverage or tasty treat to get them through the day.
A little show of appreciation can go a long way if there's ever a problem to deal with.
Another way to foster positive relationships with your suppliers is to find ways to help grow their business. This is not to say you should spend hours trying to find something that will benefit their company.
But if you happen to come across someone looking for vending services near you, give them your vendor's contact information. Or, call the vendor yourself to inform them of the opportunity.
Be Proactive with Conflict Resolution
Despite how strong your relationship is with the vendor, conflict is inevitable. The key is to not let the conflict go any further than it needs to. Be proactive in handling any issues that arise with the supplier, and try to resolve them as quickly as possible.
Some of the most common conflicts with a vending machine company include:
- late commission payments
- expired products
- ongoing service problems
Everyone is late on payments from time to time. If this occurs, communicate with the vendor as soon as possible about the problem. Often times it's an oversight that can be handled quickly. This is where a vending management program comes in handy, because vending revenue is handled for you.
As for expired products, call your vendor immediately so they can handle the situation. It's also important to place a note on the vending machine if this occurs, so customers and employees will be aware.
If your vending machines have continuous service issues, ask your supplier if they can replace the equipment with something newer. Keep in mind, however, that the sales volume will be a main factor in whether or not they can replace the machine.
The 3 Keys to strong vendor relationships
At the core of strong vendor relationships are three important factors: Trust, the foundation of any strong partnership. Honesty, so each party has the best information available even if they don't like the answers. Responsiveness to each others needs and requests.
At the end of the day, your vendors and suppliers should be viewed as a partnership. Each company plays a roll in helping the other with their goals.