Six key things to look for in a supplier

pencil-topsIn today’s business environment where everyone is expected to wear several hats, companies are looking to their suppliers to help with some of the heavy lifting. Are your existing suppliers capable of doing more?

Choosing the right supplier is not simply about helping you to source the right products at the right price at the right time. The right supplier will be one who partners with your business, to achieve a depth of understanding of its operations and goals. Having that full understanding allows the supplier to proactively pre-empt problems and identify innovative solutions.

Look for vendors with the following attributes:

Adaptability

As mentioned, your supplier should work to develop an intimate knowledge of your current business needs in order to continually and proactively find opportunities to add more value. A good supplier will have the flexibility to adjust their program to meet the changing needs of your business.

Innovative mindset

Businesses wishing to stay ahead of the curve need suppliers committed to innovation, thought-leadership and guidance. Typically, customers want to see innovation in the following areas: technology, utilising new products, new ideas, or new processes such that a task or function can be performed in less time or at a lower cost, and;
any improvement that makes doing business with each other easier.

In 2013, 86% of procurement professionals we surveyed stated they wanted suppliers to be innovative in servicing customers. Overall, our research found that when customers talk about innovation, what they often mean is that they want the supplier to be a proactive and engaged partner.

Aligned with your company’s goals

Choose suppliers whose strategic goals match up with your own. If being technologically advanced or customer-focused is important to you, a supplier with those same goals is more likely to have the know-how to help you achieve yours. Many companies now have ethical and environmental standings they work to uphold – if this relates to you, make sure that you choose suppliers who reflect these values in the way they operate their own businesses and the products and services they provide.

One of the locals

You should look to a supplier that has a local dedicated sales team that can provide a highly customised and reliable service when you need it. Local proximity allows a supplier to really get to know your company, allowing them to better help you achieve your strategic goals.

Focused on improvement

Constant re-evaluation is necessary for improvement, and a good supplier will continuously look for ways to improve and enhance your program. Such a vendor will be extremely active in strategic planning sessions and will make actionable improvement recommendations.

Provides value-added services

Prices have risen with a challenging economy, which means companies may feel as if they are getting ‘less bang for their buck’ when it comes to their product purchases. Many suppliers will go beyond the products they provide by offering value-added services, such as account management, marketing, training, and customer service. Seek out such suppliers and use them as an extension to your own organisation. Look for those that can go the distance through their value-adds, partnering with you to grow your business.

 

Join the conversation – what’s the most important attribute/s you look for in a supplier?

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