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How to source your best supplier

Suppliers can help to build your business or put a spanner in the works, therefore it is important to source the best supplier. In this article, we will look at how to find a supplier who you can have a long-term business relationship with.

When sourcing a great supplier to welcome into your business ecosystem you need to follow these eight steps.

1. Identify what you need from the supplier

With the many avenues you can take to find a supplier, you may get overwhelmed with choices. By writing a clear brief of what you want from your supplier, you can target suppliers who best match your criteria. You should consider the following:

  • Your specifications for your product or resource
  • Your standards
  • Your expectations of the supplier
  • Your budget
  • Your timeline
  • Your volume
  • Your goals and values

The last criteria of goals and values may seem strange to consider but if the supplier doesn’t have similar goals and values you may come to a crossroad where you will not be able to move forward.

2. Search for your supplier

Look in online directories, trade associations’ websites, referrals, or social media for suppliers who match the criteria you listed above. With this short list of suppliers, you will be able to further investigate and see if they are a fit for you.

3. Check their certification

Every industry has different standards which they must adhere to. It is your responsibility to check that the suppliers you use have all the certification that is important for your business. You can also check if they have ISO certification.

4. Understand their expertise

There may be many suppliers of a product you need but do they have expertise in your niche market? By ensuring that they have expertise in your niche market, they can let you know what problems you may encounter and how to proactively get over them.

5. Look at the shipping costs

An additional cost which could increase your product’s overall price is shipping costs. It is important to see if the supplier has multiple outlets or only one. If they have only one, what would the shipping costs be to get their product to all your company’s branches? If you choose to use independent suppliers who are close to your branches, then you need to ensure that the product is almost identical to what other suppliers are providing.

6. Understand the geopolitical environment

You may be getting the cheapest price and best quality but if the geopolitical environment is unstable then you may end up with a problem. Obviously, there are unforeseen problems which may arise but get the best understanding of the environment before you invest millions into your business.

7. Consider their goals

If you want to grow and use the latest technology, you need to ensure your supplier will be able to grow with you and that they are at the forefront of the latest technology used in your industry. You want to ensure that your goals and ambitions align with those of your supplier.

8. Build a relationship

As with any venture, having good relations with your supplier can be helpful. By communicating well and often with your supplier, you can ensure you are singing from the same hymn sheet and working towards goals which are aligned.

By following these eight steps, you will be well on your way to sourcing suppliers who will come along with you for the long haul.

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