5 Tips for Choosing The Right Suppliers

Last Updated: 

May 21, 2024

Identifying the right suppliers for your business isn't just a case of finding the most popular or easily available options and going with them. The quality and reliability of your suppliers will impact your business and can help you make or break what you do. If they're failing to deliver on their part of your contract, then this will impact what you do and how efficiently you operate. If they deliver subpar products, then this, too, will impact your reputation and sales.

To mitigate these risks, it's essential to conduct thorough research on the brands you plan to partner with. This proactive approach will empower you to find the right suppliers that align with your business needs and values.

Key Takeaways on Choosing the Right Suppliers

  1. Conduct Thorough Research: Investigate potential suppliers' reliability and reputation to ensure they meet your business needs and values.
  2. Identify Suppliers in Your Price Range: Find suppliers that fit within your budget while balancing cost with value to ensure quality and affordability.
  3. Understand Your Requirements: Clearly define your specific needs, such as certified organic materials or the ability to handle demand fluctuations, to ensure suppliers can meet them.
  4. Evaluate Lead Times: Assess suppliers' lead times on stock and deliveries to ensure they can provide uninterrupted supply and meet your ordering schedules.
  5. Consult Your Network: Leverage feedback from peers and industry contacts about their experiences with suppliers to gather valuable insights into product quality, delivery reliability, and customer service.
  6. Meet Suppliers in Person: Arrange in-person meetings to get a firsthand understanding of suppliers' operations, production capacity, and quality control measures to make a well-informed decision.
  7. Trust Your Instincts: Combine factual information with your intuition when assessing suppliers to foster an effective and productive working relationship.
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Identify Suppliers In Your Price Range

Start by finding suppliers for your industry in the price range you can afford. The price they charge will impact your costs and budget, and you need to make sure that you are sourcing suppliers based on a price point that can fit your needs. As mentioned, don't always go for the cheapest option, but keep an open mind on cost compared to value offered and ensure it can work within your budget and ultimate pricing structure for your audience. This could include manufacturers, distributors, or wholesalers.

Know Your Requirements

Identifying your specific requirements can allow you to ensure that the suppliers you're ordering from and working with offer exactly what you need. Do you need Certified Organic Cotton, which is cotton that is grown without the use of any synthetic agricultural chemicals such as fertilisers or pesticides, to make your clothing items and create sustainable cotton pieces aimed at an eco-friendly audience? Or do you need your suppliers to be able to meet fluctuations in demand at certain times of the year so you don't experience stock flows? Know exactly what your business needs and ensure that any suppliers meet these for a more productive relationship.

Lead Times

Ensure that you know the lead times on stock, which refers to the goods or merchandise kept on the premises of a business or warehouse, and deliveries so you can ensure you have the right supply going forward. This can help you evaluate whether or not the supplier in question can meet your requirements and supply you without interruption. It can also give you an idea of how far in advance to order and what to expect when placing deliveries and orders.

Ask Peers

Asking around your network and contacts allows you to get a feel for the reputation different brands have and whether or not you will be making a good business decision to partner with certain suppliers. You need to get both good and bad experiences to weigh up your options and determine how the partnership will work moving forward. Ask about their experiences with suppliers in terms of product quality, delivery reliability, and customer service. This can provide valuable insights into the potential suppliers you are considering.

Meet Them

There is only so much information you can glean from word of mouth, and information freely available via website or brochure, for example. Meet the supplier in person, talk to them, and ask the right questions about their production capacity, quality control measures, and ability to handle unexpected demand. Get a feel for who they are and how they run their business. Trusting your gut instinct can do you well here, along with the information you might already have. Combined, this can help you to make a more informed decision that can foster an effective and productive working relationship.

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