b'THINKING ABOUT YOUR SUPPLIERS: CREATING A PARTNERSHIPSUPPLIERS ISSUES TO CONSIDER: FINANCING,TRADESHOWSSO, HOW DO WE CREATE A LASTING AND THE ROLE OF THE SALES REPRESENTATIVE. PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN RETAIL JEWELERS AND THEIR SUPPLIERS?1. FINANCING Firstoffall,wheneveryoucan,startsending yoursupplierspayments everyweekortwo. Banks have not financed suppliers inventories for some time, but theyThey need the cash flow more today than ever. will finance their receivables. The supplier may be able to get 70 centsSecond, please dont expect most of them to be on every dollar they invoice to build inventories, pay staff and keepup for stock-balancing this yearsome may be theircompaniesrunning.However,ifareceivablegoesbeyond90able to, but they will be the exceptions. Look at it days, the bank will typically decrease that amount from the suppliersthis way, you bought it, so lets get creative about available credit line. Needless to say, this year, virtually every one of yourselling it. If your supplier closes their doors, youre suppliers is going to be struggling with aging receivables and a severelygoing to have to deal with it on your own anyway, diminished cash flow. so lets just skip the painful arguments and make a plan on attacking that inventory in-house. 2. TRADESHOWS Unless you are opening a new location and need tomerchandiseanentirestore,newinventory For many tradeshows, the season has come and gone with some showspurchasesshouldbecomeconsiderablysmaller, moving to the fall but others yet to announce new dates. We have beenbutmorefrequent.Everyonewinswithsmaller attending JCK for the past 20 years and even if they move their showspurchases made consistently throughout the year. to later this year, how many retailers will have the appetite to attend, letBeingleanalsomeansbeingnimbleandwhen alone buy inventory? yourenimbleyoucanrespondandpivotmuch faster than when you are bloated with inventory and 3. SALES REPS payables. The pressure many retailers have to sell down inventory to pay taxes or invoices would be diminished, which has a positive impact on margins This is the area where I am very hopeful to see dramatic changes inand cash flow.retailer-supplier relationships. Vendors and sales reps are always taken aback when we tell them how many suppliers the average retailer buysWhatimpactwillthisshut-downhaveonyour from in a given year (too many). At BIG, we believe the future of thesuppliers in the short run and our industry in the industry will lie in working smarter with fewer retailers working with fewerlong run? This is the question that Ive been trying suppliers. That means in order to help you develop the right merchandiseto noodle through. You see, if we do this right, when plans visvis their own product offerings, sales reps will have to knowwe get through this year, there may be a desire (or how to solve before they can sell. In order to do that, they will have to geta need) to change the way we manage this entire to know your business better, your market better and your customer basesystem. Long terms dont help you in the long runbetter. This will require data-sharing, analysis and a different mindset, andleaner, faster-turning inventories do. Will this pause even perhaps a different kind of sales team, one that is trained, not onlybe the catalyst for improving our industrys average on product, but also in inventory planning and management.turnover from less than 1 time to something that makes more sense? Suppliers who understand this are using data to drive their own decisions by training their sales team to analyze how each of their clients align withLETS GET TO WORK ON THAT: TOGETHER.their company. Hey retailers, you do the same thing in your stores every day! When you have a relationship with a customer, know their family, where they went on vacation (or not), know the names of the family pets and what jewelry they have on their wish list, the relationship is naturallyAbe Shermanstronger. This is how the supplier/retailer partnership might evolve. AsCEO, BIG - Buyers Intelligence you think about your suppliers this year, please consider how best toGroupwork together through data-sharing, collaborative merchandising and a mutually beneficial financial arrangement.24 | The Jewelry Business Magazine'