How to choose the RIGHT Supplier...

Starting a business is a real challenge because you have to prepare a detailed plan of everything you plan to do, to study market strategies and digital marketing. In short, you almost give up your life so that everything goes well. Finally, when you start seeing sales results, you realize you chose the wrong supplier.

A bad supplier can completely damage your business project. There is a list of problems that may arise: Delays in shipments, poor quality products, disgruntled customers, late charges, among others. But the good news is that you can avoid that situation. How?

By knowing the main characteristics of a good supplier before choosing one. Do you want to know what they are? Let's see:

1.   Commitment to quality

The quality of products is one of the main indicators that our customers evaluate when buying. For this reason, it is important to verify supplier quality management (SQM) before choosing one. There are some basic parameters to verify or monitor the quality of suppliers:

  • Returned Products.
  • Products delivered on time.
  • Requested price vs invoiced price.
  • Quality accreditation such as ISO.

But what happens when you receive a product that does not meet the expected quality? For example, bruised packages, labels with poor quality printing, dirt, not crisp colors, threads improperly cut and any other defect in the products. Suppliers committed with quality will take immediate action to solve the problem and guarantee an improvement in his quality management.

If you notice your supplier makes excuses and evades his responsibility for product quality, you are facing a supplier that does not meet one of the main characteristics of a good supplier: commitment to quality.

2.   Manufacturing capacity

A good supplier will strive to meet your requirements in delivering the product with efficiency and effectiveness. Checking the supplier manufacturing capacity is not a simple task. Before hiring a supplier, you can evaluate some aspects such as technology used, sustainability, operational and technical capacities, long-term guarantees, inventories of raw material, certifications or licenses, quality procedures, among others.

How to do it?

  • The safest way to know the supplier manufacturing capacity is to perform personal auditing or through a third party. It is true that this step can generate additional costs; however, it is worth it if you want to succeed with your business.
  • A faster and less expensive option is to obtain a product sample. The payment is made for a small number of units, and the request is made with the final product specifications.

A reliable provider will be willing to be audited, has nothing to hide and aims to gain new customers. Remember, it is necessary to find a good ally in order to offer a quality product; in this case, this ally is the supplier. Make an alliance with someone who respects the conditions and requirements of your product.

3.   He has a good background with his product and market

Practice makes perfect. This saying applies when evaluating a provider. It is better if the supplier has experience with your product; only this way you will receive more suggestions and fewer questions, more solutions, and fewer problems. In the same way, if he knows the market to which you are going to direct the product, he will surely guide you in legal matters and quality requirements.

The amount of products a manufacturer offers is a signal to check whether he is one. When his product portfolio is wide, he is surely not a manufacturer.

How to identify if the supplier has a history with your product and market?

  • Research the markets where he exports his products.
  • Check if the supplier knows the legal regulations required for your target market.
  • Consult the specific certifications according to the type of industry.
  • Look for the supplier's regular customers testimonials.

4.   Find a provider able to connect with your business

There are different types of suppliers in the market, which is not bad. The important thing is to connect with a provider that understands your needs, is able to put himself in your place and help you achieve your goals. The more information you have about a provider, the easier it will be to know his environment and culture. Only then you can identify if he matches your particular interests and aims.

All companies need to consider a series of parameters before selecting a good supplier. Normally, most of the communication is developed with suppliers’ sale teams. During this negotiation process, a large part of suppliers’ culture is discovered. Not only prices are evaluated, but some aspects such as:

  • The profile of the companies he currently works with.
  • Minimum order quantity – MOQ.
  • If you are offered a detailed and adequate budget for your business.

Focus your effort on looking for suppliers with a profile similar to your company. If you look at large suppliers, you may be rejected for not complying with the MOQ; and in case you are accepted, your company will not be a priority.

When your company is a priority for the supplier, and there is a cultural connection between both parties, you have a good signal to make the selection.

5.   Communication fluency

Having effective communication with the supplier guarantees success for your company. This means that both parties clearly understand what they want to communicate. If you are looking for a provider abroad, make sure that language barriers will not be a problem.

Inconveniences such as sending incorrect parts, failure to meet delivery dates and stress are the result of poor communication with the supplier.

Some considerations that make an effective communication are:

  • English as the best connection point: Making sure the provider has an English interpreter or translator within his team is the key if you do not speak his local language. You will need to make a phone call to explain or clarify a specification at some point; or if you send an email you will need the provider to do the follow-up correctly. Providers that make international contracts usually have English speakers staff. If that is not your case, then think twice before signing a contract with that provider.
  • English is not the only barrier when having an effective communication; it is necessary to establish appropriate communication channels and respect them. A good supplier notifies the inconveniences that arise during the process. He is also aware of his main goal: to fulfill his responsibility. That is why he has no problem to notify or clarify something when necessary.

5.   Conclusion

Finding a provider that meets most of the mentioned features is not a simple task, but it is also not impossible. It takes a little patience and opened senses to identify the right provider for your business.

Suppliers are allies, friends, partners that will contribute to your business development and growth. Your product is under supplier’s responsibility; your customers will be satisfied if they receive what you promised, and this depends directly on the provider you choose. These 5 features can be applied not only to your main product provider but also to service providers.

We hope your business project reaches the level you always dreamed of. Go ahead, do not give up!