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Evaluating Supplier Relationships in the New Normal – Part Two

The following post is part two in the series Evaluating Supplier Relationships in the New Normal

Technology & Innovation

As our industry and business needs become more immediate, investment in tech and innovation are key indicators of a supplier’s commitment to your business. Along with e-commerce, EDI, fleet management and logistics, a modern ERP is essential in today’s supply chain. These innovations produce accurate reporting and metrics, something suppliers should be pro-actively providing.

Transparency is also a pillar for sustainable business growth. For example, Millcraft’s ERP allows our team to provide key quarterly metrics, measuring overall customer satisfaction in areas like on-time delivery and in-stock inventory levels. Investing in technology is an essential part of our service platform, it enables us to provide custom solutions like automated purchase orders and consignment programs.

Customer Service

When it comes to service, ease of ordering and receipt of product delivery top the list for many. In today’s purchasing environment, it’s important for buyers to quickly and efficiently place orders in whichever manner their business dictates. Suppliers should make this process about the customer, not necessarily about what is easiest for them. That’s customer service.

Whether that’s speaking to a live customer service rep in your local market, quickly and easily ordering products online, automating order entry with EDI or automated purchase orders, will call, or stopping by an actual brick and mortar store to pick up just-in-time paper to run a time sensitive job. True customer service is about making it convenient for the customer.

Sales

How does your supplier contribute to growing your business? Most printers, like many small businesses, run lean. Recruiting and training is an investment that can feel like a luxury for businesses struggling with cash flow. Do they pro-actively offer and extend the knowledge and expertise of their network to supplement your sales effort? These suppliers are staunch advocates for the industry and your business.

At Millcraft, we know how important community outreach is. We have invested in a team exclusively dedicated to educating the print buying community on new materials, advances in print technologies and market trends.

And understanding how critical sample services are to commercial printers, we have three full-service design centers providing sample papers and substrates, dummies, and mock-ups, as well as resources like swatch books and stock guides. We offer these services and education programs to our partners as an extension of their sales efforts because we are invested in the success of their business.

Trust

The commercial print industry is comprised of local businesses of all sizes, and commitment to craftsmanship, value and service. Suppliers who share those values are true partners in the community and your business. They work with you to provide solutions, in good and challenging times. Perhaps its rewarding business boons with favorable credit terms. Or maybe it’s helping structure a thoughtful plan for recovery during financial hardships.

Suppliers who are true partners are committed to your business’ success instead of focusing on transactional profit.

Looking Ahead

As we navigate the uncharted waters of 2020, our centennial year at Millcraft, we know how important it is to partner with suppliers who have your back. And while we are always willing to put it in writing, we know actions speak louder than words.

We are honoring this milestone with our local print partners who’ve supported us for 100 years by putting our money where our mouth is, literally.

Just ask us about the Millcraft 100 Guarantee.