5 Tips for Better Supplier Document Management
1. Ensure Reference Numbers Are Consistent
Nothing is worse than getting responses from suppliers informing you that they cannot provide the documents you requested because they don’t know what materials for which the request was made. This is simply because your reference numbers aren’t matching theirs. To avoid this conundrum, make sure the ingredient name and part numbers that you have in your system match that of your suppliers. This will save you a lot of time and back-and-forth emails in the long run.
2. Approve and Store Documents Quickly
Typically, I try to approve and store new documents within a day of receiving them. If you are collecting a large amount of documents, you don’t want to get behind in the reviewing/approving process, especially when you have automatic emails going out to suppliers. You will not gain any bonus points if the supplier has to send you an email stating that the document in question was sent over a month ago simply because you did not have the document reviewed and stored correctly.
3. Accept Many Different Document Forms in Different Formats
Action Forms and questionnaires are great for collecting and extracting data, but will be rendered useless if a supplier does not/refuses to fill them out. It makes sense when you think about it… If I were a supplier, I wouldn’t want to fill out multiple questionnaires from hundreds of different purchasers--that would be exhausting. To help remedy this situation, I suggest setting up your systems to accept any supplier document in as many file formats as possible, so long as the document satisfies your requirements.
4. Keep Emails Clear and Concise
When you do need to email a supplier, make sure emails are as clear and as short as possible. With suppliers presumably receiving a significant amount of emails daily, it’s imperative that you get to the point as quickly as possible. Don’t make it the supplier’s job to sift through an agonizingly long email. Keep it simple.
5. Make It Personal
When all else fails, give the supplier a call. And while we do live in a digital age, sometimes a simple call will make all the difference and produce results. I’ll admit, I am a Millennial and would rather send a text or an email versus having to call someone. But the fact is, calling works.