How to Find and Choose Potential Suppliers?
You can find suppliers through a variety of channels. It’s best to build up a shortlist of possible suppliers through a combination of sources to give you a broader base to choose from. These include:
- recommendations from friends or business acquaintances
- directories or B2B website like gongchang.com, where provides millions of suppliers information
- trade associations – if you needs are specific to a particular industry
- business advisers
- trade press
Drawing up a shortlist of suppliers
Once you have got a clear idea of what you need to buy and you have identified some potential suppliers, you can build a shortlist of sources that meet your needs. Ask yourself:
- Can these suppliers deliver what you want, when you want it?
- Are they financially secured?
- How long have they been established?
- Do you know anyone who has used and can recommend them?
- Are they on any approved supplier lists from trade associations or government?
Once you have a manageable shortlist, approach the potential suppliers. Provide a clear brief, summarizing what your requirements are and giving an idea of the level of business you hope to place. When you have got the responses, compare the suppliers in terms of what matters most to you.
Wherever possible, meet potential suppliers face to face and see how their businesses operate.
Check whether your supplier will be outsourcing any work to subcontractors, or relies on other suppliers for critical components or services. If so, you may want to assess these suppliers as well.
Remember that your business’ reputation may be judged on the labor practices and environmental record of your suppliers. You should consider the ethical and environmental impact of your supply chain.
Before signing a contract with any supplier, you should carry out due diligence to check it can fulfill the agreement. You should credit check potential suppliers to ensure they have the cash flow to deliver what you want, when you need it. It’s also a good idea to get references for the supplier from other customers.