When partnering with a vendor, it’s important to keep a good line of communication open between the vendor rep and your company’s point of contact. Whether that person is you or someone else in your company, time is always limited, so communications with your vendor should be planned and productive. Accomplishing this can be as easy as setting up annual meetings that can be followed through the duration of your vendor contract. Start with a beginning of the year meeting to discuss your business needs and goals in relation to your vendor. Then you can plan quarterly meetings to rehash your goals or to address any changes to make sure your vendor will be ready during times when your business needs them the most. It’s a good idea to create a communications calendar for your uniform vendor and make sure they understand your yearly expectations. Plan to cover the following concerns as they apply to your business:
Preparing for Additional Seasonal Workers
Do you have an influx of workers that varies by season? If you find yourself hiring additional employees around the same time every year, this is something you should plan out with your company's uniform supplier. Often for seasonal workers, you only need to account for supplying the basic garments of your uniform. Depending on what your seasonal workers need, you can discuss this ahead of time with your vendor.
Planning for Summer, Winter, and Everything in Between
With a change in temperature, employee uniforms in the winter can become uncomfortably hot in the summer, and vice versa. Having a planned transition to summer and winter uniforms can help to avoid this. Make sure you schedule and discuss with your uniform supplier a few months ahead of time any additional garments your employees may need. If you have workers outside, plan for your vendor to supply heavy jackets or sweaters for colder seasons. If your facilities become hot during the summer, make sure your employees are provided t-shirts and clothing made from lighter fabrics. Another idea is to discuss with your vendor the option of a multi-layer work uniform so employees can add or remove layers depending on their own level of comfort.
Scheduling Contract Reviews
Through the duration of your vendor contract, you should be keeping track of your vendor’s performance. Are the deliveries on time? Were garments cleaned and repaired when returned? Have they been able to help you meet your goals? This should be discussed in an end of the year review or a few months earlier if your contract is due for renewal. If your contract is not up, take this time to discuss any issues you may of had over the past year and see how your vendor can address them. If the contract is about to end, evaluate any possible pricing changes before signing your contract renewal.
A communications calendar can help you manage relations with your uniform vendor and have the best partnership possible. If you consider the items listed here and plan discussions for the year accordingly, you’ll be in a good place to minimize avoidable contingencies. Your communications calendar isn’t necessarily set in stone; unexpected complications can arise, as can new opportunities to update your uniforms. If you make room for frequent discussions, it will be easier to address anything that arises. Periodically, review how successful communications have been and how well your contract is going. Working with your uniform vendor takes effort on both ends, and it should be a positive experience for both parties.
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