Selection of a Suitable Vendor
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A supplier that claims to manufacture a wide variety of different products is mostly likely a trading company or vendor, not a factory. But you might find prospective suppliers unwilling to provide preferences. This is not uncommon in China due to buyer confidentiality clauses.
A manufacturing giant like Apple will have different standards for their suppliers than a first-time buyer that sells on Amazon. Some suppliers might be more inclined toward developing new products. Others might prioritize reducing their environmental footprint. The key is to find a supplier whose goals align with yours. Culture fit is particularly important for smaller buyers or those with custom requirements. Some large suppliers will simply be unavailable to smaller importers, due to minimum order quantity requirements. And even if larger suppliers accept your business, they might prioritize other orders ahead of yours, likely leading to frequent production delays.
Suppliers with a customer profile similar to your business will be better equipped to meet your requirements. A willing to work with you and prioritize your requirements is a vital characteristic of a good supplier. Language and cultural barriers can present real challenges for importers looking for suppliers overseas.
Effective communication can prevent a variety of problems ranging from production delays to product nonconformities. This first mark of effective communication is obvious. Communication problems often arise from the way a supplier communicates, rather than language difficulties. But instead of directly notifying you right away, your contact may understate the delay or wait for you to ask about it yourself related : 3 Cultural Barriers You Must Face for Effective China Quality Control. The best suppliers are open and direct. They know you may have made promises to your own customers.
If they need clarification about requirements, they ask for it. Third-party inspection has become a standard requirement for most importers manufacturing in Asia. Some suppliers will try to ship the goods quickly before you have a chance to raise concerns.
Such a supplier may be trying to hide an issue from the you. Outside oversight can actually help the factory by:. The best suppliers typically book inspections on time and assist inspectors on site. If problems are found during inspection, they provide objective feedback and advise how to resolve issues. The same suppliers are also open with their internal documentation and processes during audits related : 4 Keys to Smoothly Introduce Third-Party Inspection to Your Factory. Ethical sourcing has made its way into the spotlight.
As larger brands have made headlines in recent years for social compliance violations in their supply chain, countries have taken steps to outlaw goods made with forced labor. By choosing to work only with the best suppliers that meet popular social compliance standards , you can verify that:.
Choosing suppliers for your business
And disregarding ethics entirely could lead to problems down the road for your business. Aside from ethical compliance, importers need to ensure their supplier complies with laws in both their manufacturing country and their target market. Failing to ensure regulatory compliance can otherwise lead to legal consequences for you and your business. But you may be subject to other laws if you import certain products. Clear evidence of regulatory compliance through accreditations can be one of the most important characteristics of a good supplier.
Do you think your quality standards and requirements will remain static throughout your entire relationship with a supplier?
The Vendor Selection Process – How to Select Your Vendors?
Probably not. Importers often adjust AQLs and quality requirements based on known quality issues, customer requirements and history with the supplier. The best suppliers proactively update their records and information to seamlessly implement changes. Important information for your supplier to keep organized and continually updated includes:.
Maintaining clear and updated quality records is one of the key tenets of ISO certification. But the best suppliers are well organized and proactively update and document new requirements internally. This last quality is probably the hardest to find among overseas suppliers. At the very least, a quality-conscious supplier should have an established quality management system QMS that complies with ISO You can verify this through a factory audit when verifying production capabilities.
But suppliers oriented towards continuous improvement will go above and beyond ISO certification to reduce waste and improve efficiency in their operations. They implement a number of lean manufacturing, mistake proofing and process control techniques.
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But conducting a process audit can help you identify root causes for product quality issues and then work with your supplier to fix them. Finding a supplier can be one of the toughest, most stressful parts of sourcing a product. But what are the best qualities to look for?
1. Set your criteria.
Communication, willingness to work with you, profile statistics, price and quality of the supplier are all important boxes that need to be checked before you pick a supplier. Image credit to geralt on Pixabay. Successful businesses require, among other things, reliable, professional vendors who can provide quality goods and services that support profit margins.
It may not always be easy to find dependable vendors; however, a properly implemented vendor selection process minimizes the potential risks of vendor relationships. Dependable vendors are of utmost importance to every company. Simply put, vendors are business partners and as such essential to sustaining business.
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They must be reliable, trustworthy, and professional. Vendor selection is therefore a crucial and complex process involving much more than simple price comparisons. Before focusing on a specific list of potential vendors, companies should detail in writing their requirements regarding the products, materials, and services they are looking for.
1. Accountability for quality issues
Businesses searching for particular product suppliers must distinguish between the expected functionality of the product and non-functional requirements associated with product features and attributes. To illustrate, an order fulfillment packaging and labeling system may meet or exceed functional requirements regarding its capacities. On the other hand, service requirements must be defined with the inclusion of expected service level. For example, when seeking a property maintenance service company, it is advisable to list all expected services, their type, quality and frequency e.
Business requirements should also define all technical and specific vendor requirements. These must be expressed concisely and accurately in order to further narrow down the list of suitable vendors. After analyzing their business requirements, companies looking for vendors should perform market research to identify vendors that can potentially meet these requirements.
Any list of potential vendors will most likely include those who offer insufficient information regarding their products and services. The subsequent responses are evaluated to determine whether the vendor can meet requirements or should be excluded. This helps companies narrow down their search and create a short list of potential vendors. Image credit to webvilla on Pixabay. Once a list of potential vendors has been established, the next step in the selection process is to issue formal requests to all the vendors.
The RFP asks vendors to specify how they would provide a service or solve a business problem as well as how much they would charge for such a solution. It is necessary to issue an RFP when the company knows their own requirements but is not familiar with the particular solutions available, such as specific technologies. The RFQ, on the other hand, is mainly focused on prices.