Communicate with Suppliers

There are a number of ways to communicate with suppliers but this depends on where they are located.

I have personally controlled a large number of projects that were all managed in different countries from start to finish. This highlights the importance of developing a Timing Plan.

In this chapter, I will help you understand that companies that are far way in distance are not far away because of the technology we have at our fingertips.
The preferred and internationally recognised way to conduct business and communicate with suppliers is utilizing one or all of the following:

  • Telephone
  • Skype (or equivalent)
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Post

Telephone

The phone is often used but is a cause of concern when there are overseas calls involved. With this, I recommend using Skype, which is free.

Skype

Skype is program that allows people to call one another computer-to-computer or phone-to-computer. It is free to join as long as both users have Skype, regardless of your location. All you need is a microphone.

How can I get Skype?

Search for Skype on the internet (www.skype.com) and follow the download pages. Once you download Skype, follow my steps below. Once complete, you’ll be able to chat with your contacts and can even use Skype as a personal phone book that is accessible around the world on any computer that has Skype installed. Skype can even be installed on most smart phones. You can also choose to add credit to your Skype account to call landline phones or mobiles at an unbelievably discounted rate, even internationally.

Follow These Steps:

1. Download
2. Add your username and password
3. Add contacts (usernames)
4. Your contact has to accept your invitation, which is automatically sent
5. Add credit if you like

What’s good about Skype?

Skype gives you the ability to make free calls to anyone in the world as well as see them on a webcam. This has endless benefits to you and how you can communicate with suppliers wherever they are.

Benefits:

  • Speaking to anyone in the world.
  • See when your contacts are online.
  • Type your messages instead of talking.
  • Send and receive files
  • Arrange regular update meetings with suppliers.
  • Review and approve manufactured parts using your webcam.

Email

Email in today’s world is a very important means of communication. The importance of having a record of conversations is your proof if anything should go wrong.

For instance, the manufacturer has agreed to something but later does something entirely different. With email, you have written proof of the conversation, which holds everyone accountable for their actions.

Email is a great tool if the other party is not fluent in English. I always suggest that you follow up any telephone conversation with an email to ensure that you have a written record of the conversation. It may seem that you are writing a million emails but, believe me, it is worth having the record.

How do I use email?

There are a number of internet search engines that offer free email accounts. If you don’t already have an email account, I highly recommend Gmail by Google. With Gmail, you receive a large amount of storage space as well as access to their free version of Microsoft Word and Excel, which can be shared with other Gmail users.

In Gmail you also have the ability to store all your 2D and 3D cad files in a section they call “Drive”. If you don’t want to use a memory stick or CD to store your important files, you can upload them to this storage facility in Gmail. Once you upload the files, you can easily attach the necessary files to any email.

Fax

Believe it or not, some companies still use faxes. Faxes are great for sending large documents with a number of pages such as patents or contracts. If you do not have a fax machine, documents can always be sent via email. Fax machines are not absolutely necessary so, if you do not have a machine, there’s no need to rush out and buy one just for this project.

Post

Snail Mail, as some like to refer to it, is still very much in use, which means that you will ideally need to have a postal address where you can receive letter or packages.

Some companies still like to send out invoices by post but the main reason why you would need a postal address is to receive original contracts, patent documents, prototypes and manufactured items. If you do not have an address that you wish to share, then you can always personally pick up any documents that need collecting from the supplier, if they are local. However, when you need to receive parcels and manufactured prototypes, you will still need to have a shipping address for deliveries.

Communication with suppliers is very important to maintain. Do not feel that now that you have placed the order, everything will run smoothly. Call the suppliers regularly to ensure everything is going well; after all, you have spent money to utilize their service so it is important to make sure the job is being completed. The more you communicate with the suppliers, the higher the chance that you will find issues that need to be resolved before it is too late.

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