When you’re trying to run a decent manufacturing business, having a good supplier to lean on is essential. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as the perfect supplier. I’ve never heard of a business which never ran into at least one small hiccup with their main supplier. Having said that, there are certain traits which good vendors seem to have in common. If you’re scared of walking into a terrible supplier relationship, here are some good traits to look out for.
First of all, great accountability. As I’m sure you know, admitting a professional mistake can be very difficult sometimes. When your goods and the reputation of your business are on the line though, it’s very important that you’re working with a supplier who can take responsibility for their end, and work to sort out any big problems that might come up. If you point out a consistent problem with the goods you’re receiving from a good supplier, then they’ll take responsibility, and start working to remedy it straight away. They may offer to send a replacement order, and apply stricter quality controls from that point on. A bad supplier, on the other hand, will deflect responsibility, make excuses, and generally step around the problem rather than dealing with it.
Good production capabilities, obviously, are one of the most important traits you can look for in a supplier. Without the means to manufacture the product you want to a good quality, your supplier will only be dead weight! A good supplier should have no problem with consistently coming out with a product that can meet your requirements again and again. Without the necessary staff and procedures at the factory, they’re going to fall short again and again. Fortunately, like a lot of things, you can tell a lot just from online materials. Pirtek, for example, has a website which is full of handy information on their production standards and processes. Still, before you finalize any agreements, it’s still a good idea to visit the factory and assess things for yourself.
Finally, see if your prospective suppliers are cooperative with some kind of third-party inspection body. Most CEOs I know have a distinct personality type, and hate having anyone looking over their shoulder or meticulously checking everything they’re doing. However, third-party inspection is now more or less standard for many manufacturing suppliers. If the supplier you’re talking to doesn’t already have these kinds of measures in place, then they should be receptive to it at your request. If they’re not, move onto someone else! When you have some third party inspection in place, they’ll point out defects which the business’s own quality controllers may have missed. They’ll be able to pin down and remedy possible causes for production issues. These practices and more will give you a certain peace of mind you’d miss out on if it weren’t for third-party inspection.
If a supplier has these three traits, then you’re certainly onto a good start! Dig a little deeper, and find out how your two companies will mesh together.