What to look for in a supplier

Posted in Inventory and warehousing.

Finding a good, trustworthy supplier to do business with is invaluable. You will inevitably have to develop a long-term relationship with them so choose your partner here well.

There are some qualities that a good supplier should have in order to be seen as worthwhile. Great prices are not the only things you have to consider, even though it is still very important. The cost of doing business with any supplier does not only rely on the amount on the purchase order. Also, hammering on about price, constantly asking a supplier for discounts or not paying your bills promptly, may lead to them opting out. Remember, suppliers are just like you, they want to make a profit.

Another quality that is important is reliability. This seems like a no-brainer but many people will overlook small signs of unreliability for the sake of maintaining a long-running relationship with a supplier. A reliable supplier ships or delivers the amount you ask for, in the time they promised and in good condition. Every time. The reliability of a supplier is not always dependent on the size of the company. Yes, a large company has good backup systems. However, a small supplier may see what great value it is to have a large company doing business with them and thus will perhaps provide better service to keep your business. One can even consider splitting orders between two separate companies as a sort of safety mechanism.

Stability is also a key factor in choosing a good supplier. Choose a supplier that has been in business a long time and doesn’t have a history of changing businesses too frequently. Companies with senior executives that have been there a long time is a good sign. Also, look out for solid, long-standing relationships with clients.

Make a note of location,as well. A location that is too far from the area where the supplies need to go will take a long time to arrive and add up freight charges very quickly along the way. Figure out how long supplies will take to arrive. If a location is a distance away, it might hinder the process when the time comes that you urgently need supplies. Determine supplier freight policies before placing orders. You may get free shipping when you place an order for a certain quantity. You can even combine two or more orders to save on shipping costs. Even better, get a supplier that is closer to your business to save money and ensure flexibility on orders.

There are a few other qualities that you need to look out for when it comes to your supplier. Are they offering you the latest, most advanced products? Do they have well-trained employees to sell and service goods? Do they offer you attractive financial terms on purchases? A good supplier needs to be willing, eager and able to work with you in order to help you grow your business well into the future.