When you’re running a business, there are a wide range of people who you’ll depend on to keep it all ticking. The customer, as always, comes first. Your workforce and managers are the people who make everything happen. Before that though, you have to think about your suppliers. Your choice of supplier can make or break your business, so make sure you’re considering the following before you come to a decision.
I’ll start this off with the most obvious consideration; pricing. Obviously, you’ll be looking for a way to get everything you need for the lowest possible price. However, it’s important that you shoot for a good balance between pricing and quality. If your supplier’s pricing is so low that it’s near impossible for them to make a profit, then something else is going to suffer. If you press them for a low price, they may start letting their standards slip in order to accommodate for it. If they don’t do this, then they could even risk running into some kind of huge financial disaster. This can be an even bigger risk for you if you don’t have any suppliers you can fall back on. Lower prices means higher profit margins, but if you aim too low then you may end up shooting yourself in the foot.
The quality of the supplier is another important thing you need to look into. Here, I’m not just talking about how well they stick to their specifications, but also how reliable they are when it comes to service. Whether it’s an office supplies vendor like Paperclick or a bespoke equipment manufacturer, there are certain key traits which you should be looking out for. Are the products packaged adequately? Are they labeled correctly? Will they send out their orders with all the right marketing materials? After establishing these things, you should also be looking for some impartial reviews about the quality of their service. No matter how great a supplier is, there are going to be slip-ups. Fill rates can fluctuate and cause disruptions, orders can turn up incorrectly, and various freak incidents can throw your whole supply chain into the air. It’s important to establish how well the supplier will act on these hiccups when they arise.
Finally, you need to consider how well-aligned your supplier will be with your business. This is one thing which an astounding number of business owners fail to consider. You might be checking out an industry leader with a very impressive history, but if they don’t align well with your operation then buying from them can be a very bad move. This is fairly likely when it comes to the big guys, as they’ll probably have a range of other clients who are more valuable to them. A good supplier will take an active interest in your operation, and go out of their way to learn about your aims, your values, and the various nuances of your supply chain and processes. If you enter a deal with a supplier who sells great products, but doesn’t really care about your business, then you’re inevitably going to run into problems.