Picking the right suppliers is crucial to the success of any company. In our experience, selecting the right supplier goes beyond just comparing price lists - as a manufacturer, our products depend on the quality and reliability of our ingredient suppliers. A strong supplier will help to ensure smooth business operations, and also meet your customers’ demands.
Step 1: Know Your Priorities
Before Google-ing and finding contacts, make sure you know what is important to you and your business, so that when you meet potential suppliers you can evaluate them properly.
Some key factors that business owners and procurement personnel should consider include:
- On time and accurate delivery services are necessary for smooth operations.
- The adage “You get what you pay for” holds true to a certain extent here. The lowest price does not equate to the best value. Product quality and customer service will also impact the “value” of a supplier.
- Marketing Support
- Some suppliers will offer marketing collaterals, product training and assistance to help to grow your sales.
- Customer Service & Contact-ability
- Good communication is important - suppliers should be easily accessible and be able to respond to queries or feedback in a timely manner.
- Product Knowledge
- A good supplier should be well versed in the product they are selling to assist you with product enquiries you have, or may receive from your own customers.
- Quality Assurance
- Look for internationally recognised systems of safety and quality (such as HACCP and ISO) to ensure the products you purchase are of a high standard (and in the case of food, safe for consumption).
- A supplier who values you as a customer is good, but a supplier who sees you as a long-term partner is even better. When goals are aligned there will be an attitude of mutual respect, which can form the basis of a strong working relationship.
Step 2: Shortlist Potential Suppliers
With the internet, finding suppliers is easier than ever before. Keep in mind there are also other good methods of searching for suppliers, including:
- Trade directories or associations
- Word of mouth and referrals from similar businesses
- Media coverage
- Trade exhibitions & fairs
Step 3: Meet and Evaluate Suppliers
While it is tempting to simply request for a product catalog or price list, it is often more beneficial to arrange short meetings with each potential supplier. In addition to receiving the catalog information, you’ll also be able to evaluate the supplier’s overall attitude, service level, product quality and other factors mentioned in Step 1. You will also be able to introduce your business and inform the supplier of any specific requirements they should be aware of.
Based on your criteria and interaction with your shortlisted suppliers, you should be able to select the one that best fulfils your business needs.
As a manufacturer, we are keenly aware of the the challenges faced by business owners in selecting suppliers for their F&B establishments. If you’d like to learn more about how we can support your business as a supplier, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.