What A Business Needs From Its Suppliers
The supply chain is one of the essential moving parts of the business. Without it, you’re left lacking the resources you need when you need them the most. So, you can’t take any chances with the suppliers you decide to get into a relationship with. Here are a few qualities you absolutely must make sure you can confirm before you sign any contracts.
If you want to be financially sensible, then going with a supplier is the best way to get your hands on the resources the business needs. But make sure you spend time talking about prices before you agree on any purchases. Many suppliers won’t list upfront prices because they’re often willing to offer some room for negotiation. For instance, if you can guarantee your long-term custom, you can get more off each item than if you bought them individually. Talk to your suppliers about pricing to see if they have that flexibility.
Some suppliers won’t have the flexibility. For instance, if they provide parts that require deep mechanical expertise, then you’re paying for that just as much as you’re paying for the parts. If your business has a vehicle fleet, for instance, then you’re only going to want to get oil stop valves from those businesses who can take a look at your fleet, at your premises, and find the options that can guarantee the protection that your business needs. Make sure that your suppliers understand fully how their equipment is supposed to work with your business. A supplier should either be directly linked to a manufacturer or endorsed by them for the more expertise-reliant resources.
Alongside the expertise comes the necessity for them to apply it, as well. To take another example, if you’re running a dental practice, then you’re going to have some high-tech equipment that you won’t be able to readily fix, such as imaging software. Your dental technology supplier is going to not only give you the right equipment. They should also be offering services to help maintain and update the tech as well. Otherwise, a business is forced to turn to another service or even the manufacturer, rending the supplier moot in the first place.
It’s an unfortunate reality. Sometimes a business will find itself in need of its tech or resources only to find that the supplier doesn’t have them on hand or has even closed doors since the last time they checked. When talking to suppliers, talk about their operational risks as well as what they can provide. Get an idea of how reliable they are. Ask who their suppliers are, for instance. Ask about the reliability of what they provide. Know when you can expect equipment to fail, for instance. If a supplier can’t give you a good answer, then they have a reason to hide the information and it’s probably not a good sign.
Your suppliers must fit your budget, have the knowledge and service to ensure you get the most out of your purchases and, most important, they have to have the reliability to continue supporting you long in the future. Don’t focus just on the quality of the products they offer, but these key qualities, too.