Identifying the Right Supplier

Selecting the right suppliers for your business is essential to ensuring you are able to deliver products and services on time, at the right price, and up to the quality standards you expect as a business. So how can you find a supplier?

1. Set criteria

With the right selection criteria, it’s possible to identify the right suppliers for your business and for your customers. List out the key requirements that the supplier needs to fill in order to provide you with the services you need. This list could include:

-Lead times from receipt to delivery

-Storage and handling facilities

-Quality assurance processes

-Contactable references

-Methods of delivery

-Minimum and maximum order quantities

Of course, these would be specific to your business, but the above criteria are a good model to follow.

2. Call for bids

This could be a Request for Proposal (RFP) or a Request for Quotation (RFQ). Whatever form you use, beside to include the full details of the products/services you need, along with the quantities, delivery dates and quality standards you set for the products. Ask bidders to provide information on their processes and raw material suppliers, as well as some reasons why you should choose them over other bidders.

3. Evaluate the bid submissions.

Compare the bids you receive against your checklist of criteria for suppliers. Ask questions to any that are lacking in clarity. Also be sure to take steps to ensure the validity of the submission.

4. Monitor supplier performance

Make sure you have direct points of contact at each supplier you choose to work with and conduct regular updates and performance reviews. Keep tabs on their work and make sure they are holding up their end of the contract. Know where you stand in regards to timelines and deadlines. One slip up from a supplier can end up disrupting the entire supply chain and create a fire that runs from your business all the way back to the customer buying the product.