We can all agree that as time passes things around us evolve. But oftentimes, we are of the opinion that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Days turn into months, turn into years and we keep trekking along the same pathways. There is comfort and security in following what we know!
Is your supply chain working for you?
For instance, have you noticed that you can take the same route to work for many years, even if your spouse assures you that there is a faster route with less traffic? Or you’ll shop at the same old grocery store even if a new one opens up closer to home offering better deals? Such is our nature, for better or worse. What’s interesting, is that we look at our business relationships in a similar fashion. We get used to the people we know and to the way we do things, even if we could be saving time and money.
Your business chain and supplier relationships can be affected by the same thinking. As time passes and things evolve have you evolved as well? Could you be missing out on key opportunities to maintain or grow your customer base simply by not seizing every opportunity to do things better? As you know, every decision that is not evaluated along your supply chain could be taking away from your business.
TRANSPARENCY & BEING GENUINE
We don’t always think about the many levels and layers that go into our relationships with our suppliers. Sure we may like them as people but have we actually built a relationship with them? At the end of the day, the relationships you have with your suppliers are the relationships you have with your customers. It all trickles down. We are only as good as the people we work with and that we trust.
Some people will sell diamonds but will not mention they are lab grow, others may sell watch parts claiming they are coming from one location but in actuality, they are coming from another- while other suppliers may say that they have parts on-premises when they really don’t. If integrity, reliability, honesty, and transparency are part of your business practices but you work with a supplier that doesn’t align with those values this will ultimately reflect on your business.
Can your supplier prove to you that a watch part from Switzerland actually came from Switzerland and not some other country?
Let’s say someone is coming to you to repair the crown on a sixty thousand dollar watch and one of your suppliers replaces the part that is not original to your watch. Sure your customer may not notice at first. However, several years down the road your customer may end up having to repair the watch again and may learn that the part is not genuine. At this point, you will lose the customer for good. Ultimately, you need to ensure that your supplier is genuine with the repair process and the parts that they use.
Learn to get comfortable with asking the questions that matter to you, your business values and ultimately your customers. Your supplier should be sharing with you; whether it’s marketing knowledge about how to use certain materials or a new technology that can speed up your delivery timeline, the right supplier will have no issues with being transparent.
COST OF OPPORTUNITY
We would like to think that we are getting the best possible deal and that our supplier is honest and transparent with us but just like you, they are always looking to save and maximize their bottom line. Repair businesses are profit centres for your store. Are savings, deals, and opportunities to do things better being passed down to you or are you just another number in their chain? If your supplier relationship is solid you will know if there is a way to do things better and if there is an opportunity to save along the way.
Are there deals, new technological advances, and bulk order opportunities that you could be taking part in? Does your supplier share margins with you? You may wonder, why would a supplier share that with me? Certainly, they don’t have to. However, the supplier is in a partnership with you and you, as the retailer, should be looking for a partnership that considers your longevity. When a supplier considers your bottom line you know you are in the right partnership. Independent retailers are challenged with people turning to shop online as well as with options outside of the jewellery and watch side of the business so any benefit that the supplier can extend to you ensures your success, and theirs! Work with those who care about your, your business and your sustainability.
CULTURAL FIT AND VALUES
Our businesses are personal to us and reflect our values and what we represent. For instance, Calvin Klein would not advertise with magazines that used print because he cared about the environment. If you, as a retailer, have some concerns about the environment, do your suppliers share those values with you? Are they transparent with their processes, work ethic and values with you in return? If you believe in equal opportunities at work and fair treatment of employees, are you working with suppliers that feel the same way? Ultimately, your job is to do your due diligence and work with suppliers that align with your values.
Your values are what transmit to your customer. It’s what aligns with them and if along the chain the people you work with don’t reflect your values, slowly that misalignment will trickle down and reflect in your business.
In addition, your values are not just for you, they are something you can discuss with your customers and could win their loyalty and trust.
MOVING WITH THE TIMES
There is a new generation of jewellers entering the scene and this influx of new blood offers immense opportunities for growth and collaboration. A new jeweller will not have the same established relationship with suppliers and will need help, guidance, and support. Your active involvement will maintain and build these new relationships. Take your relationships seriously and invest in them. Relationships are not just transactional; building them will allow your business to transition with the times.
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