This year, Source One celebrates its 25th anniversary.   You can learn quite a lot in 25 years. To commemorate our quarter century of innovation in procurement and strategic sourcing we'd like to share some of what we've picked up.  Over this five-part series, we'll share 25 tips for optimizing supplier relationships,  conducting effective risk assessments, and ultimately establishing a standard of excellence in procurement.  First, here are some basics for maintaining a healthy office environment. Communication and relationship building on an internal level are crucial to maintaining effective interactions with clients and suppliers.

1. Build a Dedicated Team
You've probably heard that a team is only as strong as its weakest player.  Well, just because something's clichéd doesn't mean it isn't true.  Every last person contributing to a project needs to provide their full energy.  Wrestling with specific tasks and goals, each team member should function as a dedicated resource and not simply offer their spare time.

2. Cultivate a Team Environment
You should take the word team fairly literally.  A feeling of camaraderie can greatly increase a group's investment in their work and its result.  Strive to create a dynamic that emphasizes teamwork, collaboration, and mutual respect both internally and externally.  It should always be clear that a win for the team is also a win for its every member. 

Inconsistent or unpredictable communication can lead to confusion and utter chaos.  Maintain order by establishing a clear chain of command and encouraging open communication amongst your procurement team. Setting this standard internally will inspire similar practices in external communications with suppliers.

4. Be a Savings Cheerleader 
If momentum or morale wanes, it's always a good idea to remind individuals at each level of the project what sort of potential savings wait on the horizon.  Such reminders encourage sound decision making and can lead to renewed focus.  If need be, discuss success in terms other than hard dollar savings.  Remind everyone what savings could mean for them in particular.  

5. Keep your Legal Team in the Loop 
Legal disputes can lead to major delays in the negotiation and implementation of an initiative.  To avoid trouble, don't wait until your reading a contract to begin consulting with your legal team. Their direct input during the data collection and RFx stages can help you avoid headaches later on.

Following these guidelines, we've helped countless companies to enhance their relationships with suppliers and have established a number of fruitful partnerships ourselves.  They are the foundation of our hands-on on-demand procurement services and we count them among the secrets to our success. Stay tuned for Part 2 next week.

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