Are you wondering how you can effectively find the right supplier for your handmade business?

5 Ways To Find The Right Supplier For Your BusinessSuppliers are essential to almost every business because supplies and materials reflects your business. Without raw materials to make what you sell or manufacturers to provide what you resell, you will have a tough time growing.

So before selecting your supplier, it is important to gather the opinions of people you know in the business and define the criteria for the selection process.

You can ask you fellow handmade sellers on crafting forums and communities.

During this time, it is important to identify a few suppliers to assess their capabilities and compare pricing. You should know how the supplier’s materials would be used in your products and within the manufacturing process.

Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is a win-win situation for the supplier and your business; therefore, open and transparent communication is extremely important.

Sometimes choosing a supplier or service provider is as simple as asking a friend who they use in their business.

Other times you need to go through a formal selection process.

To make sure the vendor you choose is the best one to provide the service or product you need to know these 5 things:

What Makes a Good Supplier?

1. Price
A lot of growing companies focus on one trait of their suppliers: price. And price certainly is important when you are selecting suppliers to accompany you as you grow your business. But there’s more to a supplier than an invoice-and more to the cost of doing business with a supplier than the amount on a purchase order.

Remember, too, that suppliers are in business to make money. If you go to the mat with them on every bill, ask them to shave prices on everything they sell to you, or fail to pay your bills promptly, don’t be surprised if they stop calling.

2. Reliability
Reliability is probably the key factor to look for in suppliers. Good suppliers will ship the right number of items, as promised, on time so that they arrive in good shape. Sometimes you can get the best reliability from a large supplier.

These companies have the resources to devote to backup systems and sources so that, if something goes wrong, they can still live up to their responsibilities to you. However, don’t neglect small suppliers.

3. Performance
Monitor the supplier performance. Even the most reliable supplier can occasionally slip up. Make sure they have a direct contact point at your company and conduct regular performance reviews. This will help you keep tabs on their work and make sure they’re fulfilling their end of the agreement.

These reviews will also help you when it comes time to talk about contract renewal, so you know where you stand.

4. Stability
Stability is another key indicator. You’ll want to sign up with suppliers who have been in business a long time and have done so without changing businesses every few years. A company that has long-tenured senior executives is another good sign, and a solid reputation with other customers is a promising indicator that a company is stable.

When it comes to your own experience, look for telltale signs of vendor trouble, such as shipments that arrive earlier than you requested them-this can be a sign of a vendor that is short on orders and needs to accelerate cash receipts.

5. Location
Don’t forget location. Supplies ordered from a distant supplier can take a long time to get to you and generate added freight charges quickly. Find out how long a shipment will take to arrive at your loading dock. If you are likely to need something fast, a distant supplier could present a real problem.

Also, determine supplier freight policies before you order. If you order a certain quantity, for instance, you may get free shipping. You may be able to combine two or more orders into one and save on freight. Even better, find a comparable supplier closer to home to preserve cost savings and ordering flexibility.

Following these tips will enable you to successfully select suppliers who can support your business requirements by delivering the appropriate supplies and services you need on time and within budget. This will help you improve your productivity and ensure you produce quality goods/services.

Gary Capps

I live in the one of the most beautiful places in the world on the Sunshine Coast in Australia with my wife and our 2 dogs, Poppy and Mia. Since 2009 I have helped over 15,000 handmade business owners to grow their business with our software and free tools designed for todays entrepreneurial artisan.

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