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If there are only a few suppliers available for the product you are looking for it is not much trouble t..." />

An Easy Way to Find a Good Supplier

Date: 09/01/2011

If there are only a few suppliers available for the product you are looking for it is not much trouble to check the capability of each supplier and base your sourcing decision on the lowest cost. However, there are hundreds of suppliers for some products or services and it is simply impractical to obtain quotes and evaluate all of them. In practice most buyers simply pick three or four at random and when the chosen supplier doesn’t perform as expected, they go out for quotes again, perhaps picking several that were not chosen the first time around. This process can go on for years without finding a really good vendor.

The time and effort to find a good supplier can be substantially reduced by asking the right people for recommendations. You still need to obtain bids and compare costs, and it is wise not to blindly accept recommendations without asking suppliers for references and to do some analysis of the data. But getting recommendations can save the time of searching and lower the risk of making a wrong selection. Here is who you might ask.

1. Ask any salespeople you deal with who handle the same or similar products who they think their major competitors are. Most will answer but will also tell you the weaknesses or what is wrong with those suppliers. That is still good information and you can evaluate it for what it is worth and check it with other sources.

2. Question other salespeople who sell other products to find out who their company buys the product you are looking for. These salespeople have nothing to lose by telling you and are usually more than willing to help you since it involves no cost to them and may earn them points.

3. Pay attention to a list of leading companies in trade and business magazines and save for future use. These lists are often presented in the order of size or profitability.

4. Look for articles about innovation that indicate companies that are on the cutting edge of technology.

5. Ask raw material or component suppliers to recommend their customers who are the most efficient.