From my experience, many times relationships from suppliers and vendors are tested when there are not clear expectations set. Ambiguity often results from lack of communication.

In the logistics industry we rely on multiple vendors, from steamship lines, airlines, and overseas agents; domestically, it is Third Party Logistics providers, trucking companies (FTL/LTL), draymen, container freight stations, staffing agencies, and many others. After researching potential partners, I prefer documenting expectations through RFQs with a clear scope of service including volumes, quality, and service levels to avoid ambiguity.

After you have selected partners, a key is to keep up multiple levels of communication with them. Stay in touch to communicate changes in business parameters, as well as challenges your providers are dealing with. Whatever industry you are in, it is always beneficial to document your expectations and metrics and have quarterly/annual quality business reviews to keep both parties on the same path to success. A quality partnership leads to success and growth for both parties.