6 Characteristics of a Reliable Supplier

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Few things are more vital to a successful business strategy than being able to identify reliable suppliers. That way, you can form a supply chain with quick access to a variety of different products, parts, materials and supplies. Take a look at some of the traits you should look for when you’re seeking suppliers you can depend on.

1. High Production Capabilities and Quality Standards

Two of the most notable indicators of supplier reliability are production capability and the integrity of their quality standards. Make sure that the company you’re looking at can fill your orders to your satisfaction. The higher the quality of resources such as equipment components, the higher the quality of finished products will be. Forming a reliable supply chain can make your company more flexible, increasing its ability to respond to changes in industry trends.

When possible, visit your suppliers’ production sites or get detailed information about their manufacturing methods. You should also place a small order to get samples of the supplies you need. That way, you can make sure that the supplier you choose is producing quality products. Check out quality control processes, machine maintenance, the business’s certification status, and its research and development capabilities.

2. Acceptance of Third-Party Quality Control

Impartial, external organizations often evaluate suppliers to help businesses decide which ones offer the best products. Suppliers who allow this type of third-party quality control are likely to have nothing to hide. You can also use their reviews to help you decide what organization you want to work with.

3. Compliance With Ethical and Regulatory Standards

Customers worldwide have become more and more concerned with the ethical sourcing of products, from raw resource gathering to using fair labor practices and safe production methods. Make sure your suppliers follow national, state, and local legal and ethical standards. Products made with ethical sourcing and sustainable production methods often sell for much more than their less ethically produced counterparts. Following regulatory standards can also help your organization avoid costly fines, fees or lawsuits.

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4. Knowledge, Expertise, Reach and Product Advancement

A supplier can have the best facility, the best quality standards and the best regulatory adherence, but if they lack the people they need to do the job right, they’re still the wrong choice for your company. Keep an eye out for signs of innovation and expertise. Connecting with a supplier that encourages internal product improvement and evolution could end up giving your final product with a profitable edge over your competitors.

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5. Location

Instead of outsourcing overseas, look for suppliers within the United States. That way, you can improve the reliability of deliveries, reduce shipping costs, and get the supplies your business needs faster.

Even if your vendors and suppliers are not stationed in the US, that should not be a dealbreaker for you. Make sure that you are going for the best breakbulk logistics so that your raw materials are being reaching you in the best condition possible.

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6. Similar Values

Look for suppliers with representatives that you can work with and get along with well. Make sure they’re responsive to your requests and used to working with similarly sized companies. Ask what specifications are needed for orders and whether there’s a maximum or minimum order size. Read the company’s mission statement as well.

As long as your suppliers cover all of these bases, you can be sure that they are reliable, capable and ready to start filling your orders. Place your orders as far in advance as possible to reduce the risk of delays and make sure your customers are satisfied.

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