You can find suppliers through many channels. It is best to establish a shortlist of possible suppliers through a combination of sources in order to give you a large option.
Ask questions of friends and acquaintances. You are more PSS likely to get an honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of a business from someone who has used their services.
Local business support organizations, such as chambers of commerce, can often refer you to potential suppliers. You can also contact our Strategic Information Center.
Exhibitions provide a great opportunity to chat with many potential suppliers, in one place and at the same time. Before going to an exhibition, it is best to check that the exhibitors are relevant and suitable for your business.
Trade magazines contain advertisements from potential suppliers. You can contact our Strategic Information Center for a list of specialized professional magazines.
Are they financially stable?
How long have they been established?
Are they on any list of approved suppliers from professional associations or government?
Do a study and try to narrow your list to a maximum of four or five candidates. It is a waste of time for you and the potential supplier if you approach it when there is very little chance that it will meet your requirements.
Choice of a supplier
It is best to provide them with a clear summary of what you require, how often you will need it, and the volume of business you hope to place.
Get a quote
It is helpful to ask potential suppliers to give you a firm price in writing for, say, three months. You can also ask questions about discounts for the long term and high volume contracts.
Price is important, but it should not be the sole reason for choosing a supplier. Lower prices may reflect lower quality goods and services, which, in the long run, may not be the most profitable choice. Be certain that your supplier can make a sufficient margin given the price in the bid to be commercially viable. Check that the supplier you use is the one who will do the work. Some suppliers may use subcontracting, in which case you should also investigate the subcontractor to determine if you are satisfied with this arrangement.