The customer-supplier relationship has undergone a number of changes in recent years, especially driven by the strong level of innovation sweeping through industry. We now tend to talk about a partnership between both entities, since they have understood the superior value in working together, building trust and listening to each other's needs. A balanced and stable customer-supplier relationship is a highly strategic asset for fueling growth and promoting innovation.
These benefits have not been lost on some suppliers, particularly in the infrared sector, who now provide their customers with a personalized and precision support process to maximize the success of their collaboration and sharpen their competitive edge.
So what exactly can you do to transform your supplier into a real partner for your industrial development and not just a simple service provider?
Forge a robust economic and technical partnership
To create a balanced and stable partnership with your supplier, ensure that collaboration is built upon strong foundations, namely the supplier's technical expertise and economic stability.
To achieve that aim, make sure that your supplier uses latest-generation technical equipment and focuses on industrial excellence as a strategy for continually enhancing its production facilities, such as by harnessing emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented reality.
You can also require your supplier to fulfill exacting quality criteria, such as compliance with quality standards, certification and development methodologies with validation processes at every stage.
As your partner, your supplier also needs to pursue a healthy and balanced strategy with its own suppliers and offer sound financial stability and a secure supply chain.
Similarly, it should be committed to continually improving its performance, which involves making commitments towards its customers. Make sure that your supplier has long-term insights into its ecosystem, your requirements and the market's needs so that it can provide personalized support and assistance with developing your products. Turn your supplier into a safeguard for your projects by ensuring that it has the ability to assess the technical and economic aspects of your needs. You should work with your supplier by establishing a set of objectives and performance indicators before your project gets off the ground.
Challenge your supplier's ability to innovate
A supplier needs to be innovative within its own company before it can unleash its innovative streak for its customers.
Ensure that the supplier actively invests in innovation and obtain guarantees that innovation represents one of its key development drivers. For example, collaborating with research and development centers shows proof of the supplier's strong involvement in innovation, as does its policy of hiring young PhD engineering and research students who are capable of bringing new insights and working practices to the table. Finally, registering several patents can also be a tell-tale sign of the supplier's unwavering commitment to innovation.
Its involvement in such innovative strategies as industry 4.0 shows its strong attraction for innovation, industrial excellence and superior performance.
You can also assess whether your supplier has embraced an innovation culture by examining its participation in trade fairs and analyzing the content of its speeches and presentations, including technical and innovative demonstrations, new product presentations, and partnerships with innovative companies.
Draw strength from a responsive and effective customer service
When it comes to the infrared detector sector, it is vitally important to work with a supplier offering an available, responsive and effective customer service. In other words, that supplier needs to be capable of resolving the most sophisticated problems and supporting you with your large-scale technical developments, even after your products have been launched on the market.
This type of collaboration is conducive to building a long-term partnership with the aim of continually improving the performance of your products.
To go the extra mile and bring even greater technical expertise to your product development process, work with a supplier who offers bespoke training courses that are designed to meet your specific performance needs and which are easily available in remote mode, such as e-learning modules.
Implementing and enforcing these criteria for assessing your supplier is key to ensuring an unfailing commitment and a long-term collaborative relationship with your supplier, which in turn drives growth and produces a competitive advantage.
Your supplier's experience is also an important asset, because it bears testament to its longevity, its proven skills and its ability to up its game and break new ground.
To find out more about the services that a supplier can bring to your company, feel free to check out the interview with Jean-Christophe Legrand, Service Offer Manager at LYNRED.