Dealing with Suppliers: Creating a Supplier Instructions Document

Mavicity By Mavicity, 23rd Jan 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Business>Supply Chains, Procurement & Logistics

Are you tired of having your supplier promise one thing but deliver the wrong material needed?

Maybe a little additional documentation is needed.

Read on to find out more.

Dealing with Suppliers

Unless you are a manufacturer, you have a horde of suppliers that your business depend on.

Some of the best suppliers allow you to painlessly order your item, sit back and relax, get the right item delivered on your doorstep and pay after 30 days.

Some of the worst will have you tearing at the roots of your hair because:
a) the sales person you first talked to did not place the order
b) the sales person ordered the wrong item for you
c) there was a problem with your order and you weren't informed
d) the item will be delivered late because of one thing or another
e) the item can't be delivered and you have to pick it up
f) you drive to their far flung warehouse to pick up the item but they are closed early, on a long lunch break or having their Christmas party in August
e) you finally get your package and you open it only to find out it is NOT the right item
f) you still have to pay upfront before a replacement can be ordered

If you can summarily remove those suppliers from your list, do so for the sake of your heart, if not and they are the only ones who supply that item in the price that you want, then you simply have to protect yourself from their foolish business practices.

The Offset Printing Business

In the offset printing business, you have pre-press and post-press suppliers to manage.

For pre-press, you have color separation which is either outputted to film or direct to plate and of course you have the paper and chemicals suppliers.

For post-press you have the finishing stage to worry about. Which comes in a range of different suppliers depending on the material your client has ordered. There are bookbinders, notebook wire binders, folding, stapling and what not to handle and look over.

One undocumented instruction and they can get away with an item that is made not to your specifications.

Because I am primarily in this business I have learned to make sure that all our suppliers are in the same picture as I am for each project that I give them. This has prevented me from getting the shock of a lifetime every time I receive a delivery from them.

Creating a Supplier Instructions Document

Write this in your company's letterhead so all instructions are official and not just from your Purchasing Officer to your supplier's Sales Person. It is a document that includes both companies in communication.


DATE: It’s important to date your instructions so that when your supplier makes a mistake, you can always trace when it was committed.


PROJECT: Create a name for your project so that you and your supplier refer to it as the same thing. This is important when you refer to your project in the next email or phone call.

ORDER DETAILS: Write in detail everything that you expect your item to be. You can never over explain and don’t ever think that anything is already implied or is common knowledge. Make your order foolproof.

EXPECTED NEXT STEPS FOR SUPPLIER: Kick your supplier into action with this line. Let them know what you need from them next so that they start working on it ASAP.

TERMS: When you can get away with it, you can put 30 days here. Otherwise always expect to pay upfront or event with a 50% downpayment.

DELIVERY: Always, always, always give a deadline to your supplier. Otherwise, prepare excuses for your customer.

We look forward to a hassle-free and smooth transaction with you as our supplier.


Purchasing Officer

You can issue as many Supplier Instruction Document as needed. Especially is your business is the type that has to ask for revisions from your suppliers. Make sure you note every change that you want done. Don't copy paste the document on your email message block, attach the file (it should be in your letterhead) and let them read it so that they know that you are taking this in detail and in a very official manner and so should they.

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Business Process, Documentation, Instructions, Printing, Starting A Business, Suppliers, Write For Money

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author avatar Mavicity
Often sarcastic, sometimes funny, hopefully entertaining.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
24th Jan 2012 (#)

Very interesting and informative. Good document format. Would make a good basic template.

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author avatar ittech
25th Jan 2012 (#)

oh good to know this...:)

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
25th Jan 2012 (#)

Thank you, Mavicity: I do have a business left to me by my husband but it is inactive at this time. However, I appreciate the information.

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author avatar Mavicity
26th Jan 2012 (#)

I found that this saves me a lot of time back reading emails to find out who made a mistake, me or the supplier.

I hope everyone finds this helpful.

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author avatar ittech
20th Feb 2012 (#)

Wonderful piece of writing. This is

mind-blowing stuff, my friend.

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