Choosing a good supplier is vital to the success of a business. It involves more than just looking at a price list. Factors like financial security, quality, reliability, communication and service are just as important. You can increase your chances of finding a good supplier if you clearly define your needs upfront and ask the right questions. Here are some good questions to ask.
Is the supplier financially secure?
In today’s environment, it is important to be aware of the financial situation of suppliers before issuing purchase orders. One easy way to do that is by using business credit reports. You can view sample credit reports and buy instantly at myaccredit.com.
A credit check can reassure you that suppliers won’t go out of business when you need them most. Suppliers with a sufficiently strong cash flow can provide you with what you need when you need it.
Does the supplier offer value for money?
If your business is new, one of your key considerations will be affordability. Competitively priced suppliers are enticing but affordability does not always offer you the best value for your money. If you send out inferior products or the service is poor, you may pay extra for returns and risk losing business due to delays. When you pass on poor quality to your customers, they associate this with you and not your suppliers.
If you conduct an audit before you sign a contract with a supplier, you can confirm that the supplier has no significant compliance or quality issues that could affect your ability to offer your customers top-quality products.
How reliable is the supplier?
If a supplier lets you down, you let your customers down. Larger suppliers are usually fairly reliable because they have the resources and systems in place to make sure they deliver, even when a problem occurs.
Smaller suppliers may have more difficulty when something unexpected goes wrong but you can often develop a closer relationship with them. This means you can rely on them to respond to requests larger suppliers may not entertain, such as a request to hold on to stock or to deliver a rush order. A supplier’s ability to be flexible and work with you can be crucial.
What kind of reputation does the supplier have?
Suppliers with a good reputation are more likely to fulfill orders on time and provide a high-quality product. You may not be able to rely on a supplier with a bad reputation. A vote of approval from another business that a supplier works with can speak volumes.
Checking online reviews is another way to find out more about the reputation of a supplier. There are various online review sites you can check out today, including industry-specific ones. An internet search can help you to find and contact suppliers with a good reputation.
Can you see the potential for a strategic partnership?
Your relationship with a supplier is at its best when you have a strategic partnership. When a supplier’s values align with yours, it is a good indication that a partnership will work well. With a strong partnership, suppliers are more likely to anticipate what you need and talk regularly to you to find out more about your needs and how they can serve you better.
Suppliers with whom you have a strong partnership are more likely to notify you if problems occur that could limit production quality or availability. When suppliers communicate ahead of time about production delays due to maintenance or downtime, you have time to make alternative plans and not let customers down.