Whether you’re starting a new business, looking to grow and expand your capabilities, or simply trying to ensure you always have quality equipment to do the job, choosing the right supplier for your business needs is critically important.
Whatever your equipment needs may be—manufacturing or construction equipment, work vehicles, office furniture, etc.—a good supplier can provide you with exactly what you need, when you need it. The wrong supplier might mean costly delays, poor quality equipment and raw materials, and an inability to meet your growing needs.
Are you evaluating potential suppliers and not quite sure which one to choose yet? Read on for five practical tips to help narrow down your shortlist. If you’re a business owner who needs help selecting the right supplier for your organization, reach out to Team Financial Group. We’re always happy to help.
1. Carefully Consider Your Current and Future Needs
Before you even start to look at suppliers, you need to look carefully at your own company. What are your current equipment needs? And if your business continues to grow, what do you project your needs might be in a few years?
Don’t just look at the specific equipment being purchased. Also consider things like:
- How quickly will you need a turnaround after an order is placed?
- How much will you need to order at a given time? Can your supplier deliver it?
- Will you need ongoing support or service after the purchase has been made? What about emergency issues that might occur suddenly or after hours?
The best supplier for your business is likely going to be one with a wide range of equipment offerings that not only suit your needs today, but can continue to partner with you as your business grows.
While, of course, it’s always possible (and sometimes inevitable) that you might need to change to a new supplier, being able to maintain a strong relationship with a single supplier over a long period of time often translates into greater efficiency, cost savings, and productivity versus constantly changing suppliers every few years.
2. Know Your Options
If you’ve been in your industry for decades, you might feel like you have a good handle on what’s out there. But if you’re a small business or startup, you might not know what kinds of suitable suppliers are even available to you.
So, if you’re feeling a little out of your depth with the sourcing process, don’t just sign up with the first supplier you find on Google that seems to have what you need. Some additional ways to find potential suppliers include:
- Looking through trade directories
- Linking up with a trade association serving your industry
- Attending trade shows and conferences in your industry
- Identifying other established businesses in your industry (but not necessarily your direct competitors) and reaching out to them for recommendations.
3. Do Your Due Diligence
Even if a supplier seems like they meet all your requirements, you still need to do your research. Is this a reputable and reliable supplier? Can they really deliver everything they promise to deliver?
- Check for relevant product-specific or industry-specific certifications and licenses. Also, check to see if your supplier is ISO 9001 certified; while this is not a guarantee of quality (or lack thereof), it’s a good sign that your supplier keeps excellent records and documents their processes meticulously—and is consequently more likely to be reliable in general.
- How long has the supplier been in business? What kind of credit history do they have? While it’s important to remember that longevity and quality aren’t the same thing, a company that’s been in business a long time and appears to be stable is usually a good sign of supplier reliability.
- Speak with current and previous customers of the supplier. How long were the wait times? How much lead time does the supplier need? Did the supplier provide products and equipment that consistently met or exceeded minimum quality standards? How is their post-sales service and support?
Remember: research takes time. We know it can be frustrating. But when you choose a supplier, you’re making a huge investment of time and capital that will have significant ramifications for your business. Investing a little extra time upfront for the supplier selection process is more than worth it in the long run.
4. Consider Your Values
For many organizations, finding the right partner is about more than simply the cost of goods or even the best possible return on investment, absent any other considerations.
For example, if environmental sustainability and local community support are important corporate values, you’ll want to choose suppliers that share these commitments. Consequently, you might choose a supplier that demonstrates a commitment to reducing industrial or packaging waste. Or, you might choose to limit your supply chain to the local area whenever possible to support the local economy and cut down on shipping mileage.
5. Consider Your Budget
Obviously, cost is going to be a major consideration when looking for a supplier. After all, the entire point of investing in equipment is to, eventually, make money. Any company you choose must be able to deliver equipment that fits within your budget and doesn’t overextend your cash flow.
However, many companies become so fixated on the sticker price that they end up making a poor choice. The cheapest option upfront isn’t always the best choice. In fact, it often isn’t even the cheapest once all the “hidden” costs are considered.
If the supplier provides low-quality equipment that requires frequent repair or replacement, for example, the total cost to your business (including both actual expenses and opportunity cost from avoidable delays or shutdowns) can be much higher than working with more expensive suppliers.
Remember, too, that when you work with an honest, reputable, and flexible financing partner like Team Financial Group, you can discover the options that fit both your business needs and budget.
Team Financial Group: Fast, Flexible Financing For More Than 20 Years
Finding the right supplier for your business is often a complex and difficult process. But securing fast, flexible financing to pay for that equipment doesn’t have to be.
Since 2001, Team Financial Group has provided more than $600 million in financing in almost 10,000 different deals across Michigan and the Midwest. We partner with businesses large and small, in industries as diverse as manufacturing, construction, energy, agriculture, technology, and more.
We’re independently owned and completely dedicated to helping our customers grow their businesses with financial options that are customized to meet their unique business and financial needs.
To discover how we can help you finance your next major equipment purchase, give us a call at (616) 735-2393 or complete this brief online application.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only. For financial advice, please contact our commercial financing experts.