5 Tactics for Small Suppliers Interested in Being Part of Big Supply Chains

There’s no shortage of engaging, helpful content for businesses interested in improving and optimising their supply chain.

However, there’s far less information out there on the other side of the equation — tactics and techniques for suppliers interested in providing their products and services to larger customers as part of bigger projects.

From standardising certain aspects of your business needed to become part of a large brand’s supply chain to expanding your capacity, there are a variety of steps you can take as a supplier to increase your likelihood of participating in major projects.

We’ve listed five of these tactics below, all of which can be used to make your business a more appealing choice for partners, customers and organisations interested in incorporating you into their supply chain.

Take technology seriously

Suppliers often miss out on projects because of technological shortcomings. While your product or service might be the best in the business, many large-scale customers will overlook you if you aren’t up to date with the latest systems and technologies, such as EDI.

From ERP to EDI software such as XEDI, it’s essential that you stay up-to-date on the software and standards used by suppliers and customers. This way, you’ll never be held back or left out of contention for a major contract because of a technology-related factor.

Understand your top opportunities

As a supplier, it’s essential that you have a thorough understanding of your top potential sources of business. This means understanding which companies and organisations are the most likely to incorporate your products and services into their supply chain.

From browsing industry directories to old-fashioned research, spend time understanding the top customers in your marketplace. Once you’ve identified the best prospects for your business, it’s time to start thinking about what you can do to qualify yourself to them as a supplier.

Expand your capacity

Nothing hurts a supply chain like a supplier running out of capacity, particularly during a major project. As such, many large companies and organisations have capacity requirements to stop small suppliers from becoming the weak link in their supply chain.

If you’re losing business as a result of your small capacity, consider expanding your capabilities to reposition your business as a viable option for medium-sized and large enterprises. Often, an expansion to your supply capabilities will help larger organisations take you seriously.

Communicate all of your value

B2B companies, particularly subcontractors and other businesses that operate deep within the supply chain, are infamous for being less than excellent at communicating their values, benefits and unique selling points to prospective customers and partners.

If your goal is to expand your business and upscale your average contract size, it’s important to clearly communicate your capabilities through your website, brochures, social media presence, direct mail and other marketing materials.

Reach out to target customers

Finally, the best way to incorporate your business into a large company or organization’s supply chain can sometimes be the most old-fashioned — by reaching out directly, either in person or in a phone call.

Getting the attention of large purchasers is often all about networking and traditional sales. As important as it is to support the latest technology and comply with the latest industry standards, it’s often old-fashioned sales work that ultimately earns your business the contracts it wants.

Elliot Preece
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