What makes a good supplier?

Product quality, price, availability, reliability and customer service are all important factors in identifying a good supplier. A solid reputation is good indicator of this and the willingness to work with you to grow your business by selling more products to you. You can research reviews, feedback, references or testimonials, and company credit checks. Contact several different suppliers to decide on the most suitable for your business.

The location of the supplier may be important not only to keep shipping costs down but to be able to supply within the timeframe required. Consideration should be given to import and export requirements if the supplier is outside the country where the goods will be sold.

If you are a large customer of a small supplier you may get better service and discounts compared to being a small customer of a large supplier. A large supplier may be able to offer better discounts or financial terms in respect of loans and settlement terms and conditions.

A good supplier will be able to meet your customer service queries efficiently with a structured process through their chain of command. They will remain competitive on price with their rivals, deliver undamaged products, and provide training and information as required. They may be able to supply additional products as well reducing the need to work with numerous suppliers.

It is also necessary to consider their hours of business, their insurance and liability structure, and their returns or damage policy. It is good to know who your other suppliers could be so that if needed you may purchase from them if your chosen supplier is unable to deliver for some reason.

The ethics and legal compliance of the supplier will need to meet the requirements of your customers. This will ensure you are working with a supplier who has a high level of integrity, and that you can trust. Good suppliers will be compliant with regulations and systems.

A good supplier will communicate effectively with their partners to benefit both businesses. Goods supplied may have expiry dates or limited sale times and it is important they can be sold before the product is out of date. Ensure that your supplier offers genuine product and not illegal or cheaper imitations which are attractive in price but not the real product.

Many suppliers will find it very beneficial to seek accreditation from various regulating bodies and those who meet the criteria will quickly ensure you are aware of their achievements.