How To Find and Work With the Best Suppliers.
Suppliers are a crucial part of a business. Suppliers and vendors can help a business evaluate the potential of new products. The best suppliers have the right tools to track competitor actions and identify opportunities. With the right vendor, a business can benefit significantly and get an edge over the competition. Let’s see how to find suppliers that are like your partners in growth, who can help you improve product design, source marketing funding, and cut cost.
Evaluating Suppliers and Vendors
There are different types of suppliers and vendors, from manufacturers to distributors, independent craftspeople and importers.
While many startups focus on price when evaluating suppliers, price should not be the only criterion to judge a vendor. In fact, you should look for a supplier who is reliable. Reliability is a key factor in your choice of a supplier. That ensures you get your product orders and inventory on time. Reliable vendors are disciplined and approach each order professionally, ensuring that the shipment reaches you in good shape and as promised.
A large supplier has the resources to devote to backup systems. This ensures they can fulfil their orders as promised without delay. But that does not mean small suppliers should not be given a chance. In fact, a small company pays better attention to a large customer, providing better service and reliability. Additionally, it is a good idea to split orders between two smaller firms. By doing this, you will have a backup all the time.
Another important criterion is stability. You want to work with suppliers that have experience in the industry. You cannot take the risk of doing business with someone that is unreliable and changes business every few years. Location of a supplier matters. You do not want to deal with a distant supplier as that can result in delays and extra freight charges. Instead, look for a local supplier for cost savings and check freight policies before placing a product order. Try to find if there is a possibility of free shipping on orders of a specific size. In that case, it is a good idea to combine two or more orders and avoid freight charges.
Find suppliers who are competent enough to deliver the most advanced products and services and have well-trained customer service executives and technicians to service goods. A good supplier will not hesitate to offer attractive financial terms to clients to improve their purchase experience. The best suppliers are eager to work with you and see their success in the growth of clients.
Changing Supplier Relationship
It is not always feasible to change suppliers for a better experience. In fact, you may request your existing supplier to give discounts and better service. Here are some strategies to negotiate a better deal and turn your mediocre vendor into top-shelf supplier.
Ask for discounts
You may not hesitate to enquire about the vendor’s discount program and its criteria. Some vendors are happy to give a trade credit to customers that pay early. This could even win you a substantial discount.
If you are not happy with a specific service at the supplier’s end, do not hesitate to intimate the same to the vendor. Do not give up until you are satisfied with the solution offered. If possible, move up the chain of command or you could even approach the management. It is highly likely that someone will be concerned about the reputation of the company as well as customer satisfaction and possess the authority to remedy the situation. But if you don’t get what you expected, you may want to sever the ties.
A better relationship
Take the initiative to improve the relationship. This might help improve quality and cut cost. be clear about your expectations right at the start. You may drop a hint that unless your expectations are met, you might not hesitate to divert the orders elsewhere. This is a kind of polite warning for the supplier. You’ll know if they are willing to live up to your expectations. This will also give them the message that you are strict about your business needs.
Get rid of them
Your focus should be to work closer with a few vendors instead of having many suppliers. When you work with a handful of vendors, you can reduce the administrative cost. This will also help improve the efficiency of your staff who will have less administrative tasks to take care of.
When it comes to changing vendors, these tips might help:
Find supplier for your business if you are unhappy with the experience with your existing vendor. Are your shipments arriving consistently late? Or are you receiving damaged or incomplete orders? No doubt, every business might have a problem at one time, but you ought to reconsider your relationship if it is consistently delivering bad experience.
Lack of competitiveness
You want to explore potential suppliers that are offering competitive pricing for the goods you are getting from the existing vendor. This could be due to your present supplier’s unwillingness to adapt to the changing business environment. Investigate and find out the reason. Do not be reluctant to ask for an explanation. You may want to consider the new offers from rival suppliers if they are hesitant to change.
You should find suppliers that let are transparent in their dealings and open to enhance your experience. They are willing to invite you to visit their plants, enquire about their processes from workers, talk to their managers, and get references. Sometimes you might even be lucky to work with suppliers that allow you to examine their financial statements. If a supplier shuts you out, they are not the right choice.
How much are you actually spending out of pocket to work with suppliers? The cost is much more than the figure in the supplier’s invoice. You cannot ignore the cost of drawing up specifications, issuing request for proposals and evaluating them. You also want to spend time and money on checking references. Additionally, it takes time to negotiate terms, place an order, and inspect the goods, and deal with problems, including errors, damages, or shortages. Not only this, your workers need to undergo training to use the new goods.
Not all costs can be avoided. But some are traceable only to specific suppliers. In that case, you want to find suppliers with a better track record.
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