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Acknowledge and appreciate your supply partners

Throughout the year, I have focused on how to effectively reduce costs, manage and control inventory efficiently and ensure that there is a strong partnership in place with your primary suppliers. This is a great time to reflect back on 2013 and acknowledge all of the dedication, hard work and assistance our main supply partners have brought to the table that continue to make us successful.

I've been thinking about some of the personal stories of that acknowledgement that I've been fortunate enough to experience and learn from. My first exposure to this concept was many years ago while working as a waiter in an upscale French restaurant on the east coast. The owners were getting ready to open a new concept and made the effort to invite all of their supply partners to a dinner to thank them for their hard work and provide them with a true appreciation for the new concept. I'm certain that all the supply partners walked away energized to go the extra mile.

Years later, I worked in the corporate purchasing department for a regional hotel chain. Upper management decided to hold a supplier banquet to thank those partners, provide insight into the business and growth plans of the company and present an award for "supplier of the year."

Lastly, during my tenure with a nationwide French café and bakery concept, I was lucky enough to be included in a week-long trip to France for general managers and above so that we could truly experience where the concept originated, why we approached business as we did and gain an appreciation for the culture. The founder included a few of his long-time supply partners in the trip. Definitely not the norm, but a phenomenal experience for all of us, and an above and beyond way to thank those partners for helping to make the concept as successful as it had become.

I speak for myself when I say that I've often taken for granted all of the great assistance I've received over the years from folks on the supply end, in the form of "going the extra mile" for my clients. And I'm aware that they don't often hear the good news, instead only hearing about times when things don't go right. A simple "thank you" or lunch can really go far in building that strong business relationship throughout the year.

Best wishes for happy holidays and a successful 2014 ahead!

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