Mentor, Tom O'Toole

What is the best way to test that a potential supplier will deliver you quality goods on time at a price you’ve agreed?

StartupSmart /

What is the best way to test that a potential supplier will deliver you quality goods on time at a price you’ve agreed?

 

Finding the right supplier is crucial, especially in the long-term. There are several steps we take at Beechworth Bakery to suss out a potential supplier.

 

When we start negotiation, one of the first things we do is request the contact details for some of the supplier’s customers.

 

Then we talk to them and ask these questions: What is the supplier like to deal with? Do they always deliver what you order on time and at the agreed price? What issues, if any, have you had with them?

 

By doing this, we get to know exactly what we’re going to be dealing with. If the supplier does good work, no one on either side will mind you asking these questions. If they don’t make a lot of mistakes, they’ve got nothing to hide.

 

The other thing we do is physically visit the supplier’s business, if at all possible, to see how it operates.

 

We observe and then ask ourselves: Do they run a successful business? Do they have good systems in place? Do they stock high quality products?

 

Plus, we talk to some of their staff to see what their attitudes are like. We learn a great deal when we make the effort to visit the premises and watch the supplier at work.

 

As for the price you work out, it’s got to be win/win for both parties. If we screw the supplier down to the bare bones, they have nowhere to go from there and the product quality can suffer.

 

Once a supplier is in place, the most important thing is to always check off the invoices on delivery to make sure you have received all of what was ordered at the price agreed. That way, nothing that’s wrong goes unnoticed.

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