An efficient supply chain is necessary for running an efficient business. Below are 7 mistakes businesses make when it comes to choosing and managing suppliers. Are you making any of these mistakes?
Not shopping around
If you don’t regularly shop around, you’ll never know if you’re getting the best price. While staying loyal to a certain supplier may give you access to loyalty discounts in some cases, it’s worth occasionally checking what other suppliers are charging. This is particularly important in industries with large overheads like construction – by comparing the price of different timber merchants, you could save huge amounts of money on a construction project.
Prioritising cost over quality
While cost is important, you also want to make sure that you’re using good quality suppliers. If the product is poorly made or the supplier isn’t able to meet deadlines, it could affect your reputation. Research into the quality of suppliers by reading reviews and sampling produce.
Using too many suppliers
If you’re using too many suppliers, you could easily become overwhelmed. The costs will add up and you could find yourself spending a lot more time keeping track of orders. Once you start struggling to keep track of suppliers, it’s a sign that you need to streamline your supply chain.
Using too many middlemen
It makes sense to order lots of different supplies from a single supplier. However, if you’re ordering a single time from a single supplier, consider whether they are at the end of the supply chain. For example, when ordering a single wine from a wine supplier, you may find that it’s cheaper to order directly from the vineyard.
Working with shady/unethical suppliers
It’s important to research suppliers to ensure that their practices are legal and ethical. If a supplier practices child labour or animal testing and there is a scandal surrounding this, you could end up being associated with this activity and it could taint your brand. Make sure that you know exactly what your suppliers are up to.
By using digital technology, you can take a lot of the headache out of supply chain management. This includes using technology to automate orders or technology to digitally keep track of deliveries. Try experimenting with different tools to see if they can make your life easier. Such technology could be particularly useful if you’re working with lots of different suppliers and working with tight deadlines.
It’s very important to communicate well with suppliers. This is particularly the case when it comes to highly personalized orders such as custom packaging or specific bespoke parts. A good supplier will keep regular communication with you so that you’re always in the loop as to what’s happening.
If this doesn’t happen, it’s important that you chase them up. It’s also very important to clearly communicate your wishes at the beginning so that you end up with the right order. Where possible, ask for test batches or prototypes so that you can make sure everything is to spec.