How do you build trust over an 8000km distance?

30 August 2017

One might think supply chain management is merely managing your supply chain. Delivering goods from A to B to C without delay. However, the domain of supply chain is a complex one, and when it comes to partner relationships, trust seems to play one of the most important roles in making supply chains run effectively and efficiently. And trust, unlike delivery times and units, is an unmeasurable building block.

So how can a company oceans away, be able to fully rely on their partner? How can you sleep at night, knowing that your televisions, metals or medicine will end up where they need to be? We boiled it down to three disciplines that are necessary in building, and most importantly, maintaining, trust within a relationship.

  1. Deliverability

Naturally, delivering on time and in the right condition is what builds the foundations of supply chain management. Being able to deliver, however, might play an even bigger role in the supply chain relationship. It’s about being able to keep promises made, which is what provides a certain reliability that is necessary in maintaining relationships. If someone promises ‘order today, delivery tomorrow’ then they need to have the partners and logistics behind them to back it up.

  1. Flexibility

Although a customer’s targets and deadlines may not be flexible, you as a distributor need to be, in order to get them what they need. Supply chain management is equal to promise-chain management; every player has made promises to their customers which they need to keep. It’s the last-minute requests that require us to challenge ourselves, and the need to be flexible that gives us bigger mountains to climb. But if a promise has been made, even if we have to send one of our personal drivers overnight, it’ll get there. Flexibility might cost you, but we’ll deliver.

  1. Communication

Communication is key. A client might know when their goods left the country, and when the goods need to be at their final destination, but everything else is like a vast void of the unknown. What happens to their televisions in between going from A to B to C?! We understand that keeping you in the loop might be the most important role in a trustworthy relationship. Besides all of the complex contracts, freight bills and damage control terms, we know that we need to give in-between updates in writing.

Despite difference in countries and cultures, we discovered that these three points play the biggest role in maintain a strong, trustworthy relationship between partners in the supply chain. Nothing ever really goes as perfect on paper, but as long as you deliver, communicate and stay flexible, you’ll be able to maintain and grow in your relationship with your partner. And this doesn’t only count for logistics or supply chain management. These factors build relationships on any market, and even outside of business. Trust is key!

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How do you build trust over an 8000km distance?Steel Solutions, Ankerkade 150, 6222 NM Maastricht, Netherlands+31 (0)43 609 6200Terms & Conditions