For anyone in business, you would agree that there are a lot of crucial steps to take and factors to consider for the company to thrive and be productive. One such factor is your supplier.
Suppliers are a crucial cog in your supply chain, providing products as big as machines and materials as little as seals, and their services are key to the success of a business. The right supplier can do a lot to streamline your supply chain and make the flow of goods faster. Whether you’re taking on a project in construction, manufacturing, retail, or any other product business, you’ll most likely work with a third-party supplier at some point.
Apart from conforming to industry rules and regulations, which is very important, the following factors can help you identify the right supplier.
1. Product Quality
While it is quite important that you make a budget and stick to it when resupplying, try to go for quality over low prices when selecting a supplier. Buying substandard supplies will affect your product’s overall quality, hurting your finances and reputation over time. Don’t cut corners on quality. Make sure you assess a supplier based on their overall value to your supply chain, not just the price tag.
2. Production Capacity
A supplier isn’t the best fit for you if they can’t produce the product you want. And not just once but consistently. In view of this, it is advisable to visit your potential supplier’s base of operations in-person to assess their production capabilities. If this isn’t feasible, you can engage a third party to use quality management standards like ISO 9001 to assess the supplier’s production capacities.
Additionally, you can request a sample run (if they are doing the actual manufacturing and not just supplying) from the supplier and have an expert check the quality.
3. Niche Expertise
A supplier who is an expert in a particular field is experienced with common quality demands for the product and how to meet them. They understand your industry’s quality standards and legal requirements, and years of experience give them practical knowledge that can be of immense help when you encounter problems. Niche expertise usually comes hand-in-hand with factory specialization. So if your potential supplier is sending out varying products in different niches from their factory, you might need to continue your search.
4. Ease of Communication
Language and cultural barriers can hinder effective communication creating a variety of problems ranging from production delays to product nonconformities. So it is important that you can communicate with your supplier in a common language. The supplier should be open and direct in communicating, responsive, and easy to reach. Consider a supplier’s means of communication and the availability of that communication, including support staff.
5. Large Catalog
While it is important that you choose a supplier with niche expertise, you must also make sure that your choice of supplier has a catalog that covers as many variations of the products as possible. Accompanied by the knowledge of the niche, this supplier would be able to advise you on the best products to fit your needs and then help you bring the right product fit into existence. Apple Rubber is a rubber seal supplier with an online catalog featuring thousands of different seal sizes and online tools to help you find exactly what you need. This kind of catalog variety with niche expertise and ease of search is exactly what you need in a supplier.
Some other factors to look out for are stability, clear and comprehensive record-keeping, supplier location, culture fit, and alignment with your goals. Finding a supplier can be a tough task, but not impossible. The qualities listed above can serve as a checklist you can assess before making a decision.