Lots of business contacts are vital in any industry. Building a team around a network of experts is the best way to move forward. Nowhere is this more true than in the world of construction. Civil engineering projects revolve around a team of contractors, suppliers and vendors. So many aspects of a project are outsourced and, as a project manager, you’re in charge of it all.
Every civil engineering project is a puzzle. Each part represents a different team on the job. The plumbers are one piece, the architects are another and the bricklayers another. They all come together on one large project. Another piece of the puzzle is your suppliers. Every project manager needs an expert network of suppliers to call upon. The best project managers have great relationships with their suppliers. If you don’t here’s why that relationship is essential.
As a project manager, you know how important the budget it is. Investors and managers will be on your back to ensure you stick to the costs. You need to get the project finished and cut costs wherever possible. That’s where a great relationship with suppliers will come in. When there is mutual trust and respect between you and your supplier, you can make good deals. They know that invoices will be paid timely and you can give them a guarantee.
Project managers are often burdened with heavy time constraints. It’s a tough job to balance expectations and bring all aspects of a build in on time. When you’ve got a good relationship with a supplier, you can make sure vital tools and equipment arrive on time. Not only that, but your whole ordering process is much faster when you’re a repeat customer.
Clear, shared expectations
One of the more difficult things about working with an unfamiliar company is a disconnect in expectation. When dealing with an unfamiliar company, you don’t know their lead time or turnaround time. You don’t always knows their payment system or contract requirements. With good, strong relationships, you know what you’re getting. This works both ways and suppliers love to build relationships with regular clients.
Much of a project manager’s time is spent putting out fires. You’re solving problems from all angles and making quick decisions. Sometimes, a quick phone call to a friendly supplier is all you need to solve the problem. For instance, you might know that Hudson Bearings will ship on the same day you order. That connection can help you out quickly if a problem raises its head.
The final point is mostly an administrative one. Good supplier relationships means the contractual and invoicing processes are simple. You can fall back on old contracts and wording, rather than drawing up new provisions with every order. It’s a much more efficient way to work. There are no surprises and even less negotiation.
Project managers are used to balancing any number of suppliers, vendors and contractors. Good relationships are essential here. They’ll keep your job on time and on budget!