Boost your supplier relationships: winning strategies for international trade

11 Jun



International trade can be a fickle beast surrounded by a web of external factors you and your business have no control over. This is why managing your supplier relations is integral to your success: unlike geopolitical factors and government legislation, you can control the outcome. The universal truth is that fostering strong supplier relationships is crucial for ensuring smooth operations, timely deliveries, and mutual growth.

Communication, communication, communication

Be transparent

They say honesty is the best policy in business, but it's transparency regarding trade relations. That means keeping your suppliers in the know about any future business plans, including forecasts and changes in demand. This helps your suppliers plan and manage their production schedules, ensuring they meet your needs without stressful last-minute workarounds.

Keep in contact

Schedule regular meetings and updates with your suppliers. Set the agenda of each meeting, schedule touchpoints, and, if your time allows, have in-person meetings. This can prevent any misunderstandings and keep both parties consistently aligned.

Respect cultural differences

International trading means working with suppliers from different cultural backgrounds. By understanding these differences, you show a healthy respect for your relationship.

Learn local customs

Take the time to learn about your supplier's local customs and business etiquette. This shows respect and a willingness to connect beyond just business exchanges. For instance, in Chinese culture, it’s best practice to refrain from self-deprecation, sarcasm, direct criticism, or negativity in public settings.

Adapt communication styles

Adjust your communication style to match that of your suppliers. Some cultures prefer a direct approach, while others may find it too blunt. So, research and adapt your communication style to prevent miscommunication and build trust.

Technology that speaks the same language

Use tech to streamline processes

With AI at the peak of its power, automation has become integral to success. Use automated digital platforms for order placement, tracking, and payments. Even more so, it’s essential to find the right platform that can adapt to working with your supplier’s internal systems so workflows are streamlined and more efficient. Platforms such as Alibaba and Global Sources specialise in connecting Asian suppliers with global buyers and support integration with various eCommerce and supply chain management tools. At Stenn, our advanced invoice financing technology makes it quick and easy for you to manage your finances, meaning your suppliers get paid on time.

Embrace data

Predicting the future is impossible, but you can prepare for it. Data analytics allows you to monitor and adjust to your supply chain needs. You can use these analytics as valuable insights to share with your suppliers. This increases collaboration between both parties, allowing you to plan for future demands and reduce the risk of stockouts or overproduction. Google Analytics 360 is the premium version of Google Analytics and offers robust data sets that you can use to prepare for peaks and declines throughout the year, 

Financial trust is a must

Ensure prompt payments

Delayed payments are one of the quickest ways to damage a supplier relationship. Alternative financial solutions like Stenn’s invoice financing ensure your suppliers are paid promptly. This not only builds trust but also positions you as a reliable partner. 

Swift solutions

Address problems head-on

When issues arise, address them directly. Avoiding or delaying the conversation can exacerbate the problem. Work with your supplier to find a solution, ensuring both parties feel heard and valued.

Learn from mistakes

Every issue is an opportunity to learn and improve. Conduct collaborative post-mortems on significant problems and work together to identify what went wrong and how similar issues in the future can be prevented.

Building better relationships with your suppliers in international trade requires effort. But by understanding your supplier's frame of reference and adhering to their cultural norms - you can both benefit. Our invoice financing solution helps buyers forge stronger relationships by advancing their outstanding payables with their international suppliers, building trust and establishing long-term relationships. Find out more about invoice financing here.

Stenn is a global trade finance company dedicated to empowering businesses of all sizes with flexible, tailored alternative financing solutions. Since 2016, Stenn has powered over $19 billion in financed assets, supported by trusted partners including Citi Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, and Natixis.


About Stenn

Since 2016, Stenn has powered over $20 billion in financed assets, supported by trusted partners, including Citi Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, and Natixis. Our team of experts specializes in generating agile, tailored financing solutions that help you do business on your terms.

Talk to our team to get started

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