There are no shortage of suppliers when you first sit down to Google your search. What quickly becomes apparent however is that a list of hundreds of promising candidates can be extremely time consuming to vet.
If you have to issue RFPs to pre-build a qualified list of possible vendors, it can take days or even weeks. So, how do you narrow a list of hundreds in a timely and effective manner?
Lets take a look at what you should be considering in order to quickly trim down your list.
Price is always important when you are selecting suppliers to accompany you as you grow your business. But there’s more to a supplier than an invoice-and more to the cost of doing business with a supplier than the amount on a purchase order. Remember, too, that suppliers are in business to make money. If you go to the mat with them on every bill, ask them to shave prices on everything they sell to you, or fail to pay your bills promptly, don’t be surprised if they stop calling.
Good suppliers will ship the right number of items, as promised, on time so that they arrive in good shape. You may be tempted to believe you will get the best reliability from a large supplier. After all, these companies have the resources to devote to backup systems and sources so that, if something goes wrong, they can still live up to their responsibilities to you. However, don’t neglect small suppliers. If you’re a large customer of a small company, you’ll get more attention and possibly better service and reliability than if you are a small customer of a large supplier.
Make sure whatever supplier you are looking at has all the correct certifications, such as ISO 9001 and a documented process for managing resources.
You’ll want to sign up with vendors who have been in business a long time and have done so without changing their business practices every few years. A company that is closely held by the owners is another good sign, and a solid reputation with other customers is a promising indicator that a company is stable.
When it comes to your own experience, look for telltale signs of vendor trouble, such as shipments that consistently arrive later than you requested them-this can be a sign of a vendor that is having trouble managing their resources and indicative of poor client/vendor communication.
Merchandise ordered from a distant supplier can take a long time to get to you and generate added freight charges quickly. However with today’s advanced global shipping systems don’t discount businesses that seem far flung – especially if they consistently build shipping times into their deliverables.
Additionally, with recent changes to exchange rates favouring Canadian suppliers, there are some significant cost savings to be had if you look north of the border.
You’ll want suppliers who can offer the latest, most advanced products and services. They’ll need to have well-trained employees to sell and service their goods. They should be able to offer you a variety of attractive financial terms on purchases. And they should have a realistic attitude toward you, their customer, so that they’re willing and eager to work with you to grow both your businesses.
Competent Vendors are extremely important if you work in the defense or medical device market – you will quickly be able to trim down your list by searching only those businesses that have the correct certifications for your industry.
Conclusion: While the internet has made finding possible Suppliers and Vendors easier than ever – some effort and a clear vision of what to look for has become more important than ever. It is up to you to determine which of the above criteria is most important for your business and needs, but by following these simple suggestions you should have a workable short-list in no time.