Info for Buyers
GOVERNMENT BUYERS AND INFLUENCERS GUIDE TO SELECTING THE RIGHT SUPPLIER
Govtsuppliermag.com knows choosing the right supplier involves much more than scanning a series of price lists. Your choice will depend on a wide range of factors such as value for money, quality, reliability and service, set asides, and location. How you weigh up the importance of these different factors will be based on your Agencies priorities and strategy.
A strategic approach to choosing suppliers can also help you to understand how your own potential customers weigh up their purchasing decisions.
This guide illustrates a step-by-step approach you can follow that should help you make the right choices. It will help you decide what you need in a supplier, identify potential suppliers and choose your supplier.
- Thinking strategically when selecting suppliers
- What you should look for in a supplier
- Identifying potential suppliers
- Drawing up a shortlist of suppliers
- Choosing a supplier
- Getting the right supplier for your business
THINKING STRATEGICALLY WHEN SELECTING SUPPLIERS
The most effective suppliers are those who offer products or services that match – or exceed – the needs of your Agency. So when you are looking for suppliers, it’s best to be sure of your Agency needs and what you want to achieve by buying, rather than simply paying for what suppliers want to sell you. Make sure your suppliers are vetted. Do they have a GSA certification? Do they have a SAM registration?
For example, if you want to cut down the time it takes you to serve your customers, suppliers that offer you faster delivery will rate higher than those that compete on price alone.
It’s well worth examining how many suppliers you really need. Buying from a carefully verified group could have a number of benefits:
- it will be easier to control your suppliers
- your agency will become more important to them
- you may be able to make deals that give you an extra competitive advantage
For example, if you’ve got a rush job for an important customer, your suppliers will be more likely to go the extra mile if you spend $1,000 a month than if you spend $250.
However, it’s important to have a choice of sources. Buying from only one supplier can be dangerous -where do you go if they let you down, or even go out of business?
Equally, while exclusivity may spur some suppliers to offer you a better service, others may simply become complacent and drop their standards.
WHAT YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR IN A SUPPLIER
Reliability and Government Certification
Remember – if they let you down, you may let your customer down.
The quality of your supplies needs to be consistent – your customers associate poor quality with you, not your suppliers.
They all have Pre-Negotiated Terms and Pricing available for Government Agencies
The lowest price is not always the best value for money. If you want reliability and quality from your suppliers, you’ll have to decide how much you’re willing to pay for your supplies and the balance you want to strike between cost, reliability, quality and service. The Great news here is that all of the businesses listed in govtsuppliermag.com are VERIFIED GOVERNMENT CONTRACTORS so you don’t have to worry.
They all provide Strong service and clear communication
You need your suppliers to deliver on time, or to be honest and give you plenty of warning if they can’t. The best suppliers will want to talk with you regularly to find out what needs you have and how they can serve you better.
They are all Financial secure
It’s always worth making sure your supplier has sufficiently strong cash flow to deliver what you want, when you need it. A credit check will help reassure you that they won’t go out of business when you need them most.
They all want to be your partner
A strong relationship will benefit both sides. You want your suppliers to acknowledge how important your business is to them, so they make every effort to provide the best service possible. And you’re more likely to create this response by showing your supplier how important they are to your business.
IDENTIFYING POTENTIAL SUPPLIERS
You can find suppliers through a variety of channels. We have developed a shortlist of possible suppliers through a combination of sources to give you a broader base to choose from and the best thing is that they are all Verified Government Contractors.
DRAWING UP A SHORTLIST OF SUPPLIERS
Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you need to buy and you’ve identified some potential suppliers, you can build a shortlist of sources that meet your needs.
When considering the firms on your shortlist, ask yourself the following questions:
- 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?
Do some research and try to slim your list down to no more than four or five candidates. It’s a waste of time for you and the potential supplier if you approach them when there’s little chance of them fulfilling your requirements.
CHOOSING A SUPPLIER
Once you have a manageable shortlist, you can approach the potential suppliers and ask for a written quotation and, if appropriate, a sample. It’s best to provide them with a clear brief summarizing what you require, how frequently you’ll require it and what level of business you hope to place.
Get a quotation
It’s worth asking potential suppliers to give you a firm price in writing for, say, three months. You can also ask about discounts for long-term or high-volume contracts or you can ask for their Government Terms and Conditions.
Compare potential suppliers
When you’ve got the quotation, compare the potential suppliers in terms of what matters most to you. For example, the quality of their product or service may be most important, while their location may not matter. Maybe one is a certain Set-Aside you need to get fulfilled.
Price is important and we have only listed verified Government contractors with Government Pricing for you.
Negotiate terms and conditions. Negotiations have already been done with the verified Government Contractors within this publication.
Once you’ve settled on the suppliers you’d like to work with, you can move on to negotiating terms and conditions and drawing up a contract.
GETTING THE RIGHT SUPPLIER FOR YOUR
Know your needs
Make sure you know what you need. Don’t be tempted by sales pitches that don’t match your requirements. Understand the difference to your business between a strategic supplier, who provides goods or services that are essential to your business – such as high-value raw materials – and non-strategic suppliers who provide low-value supplies such as office stationery. You will need to spend much more time selecting and managing the former group than the latter.
Spend time on research
Choosing the right suppliers is essential for your Agency. Don’t try to save time by buying from the first supplier you find that may be suitable.
Ask for Government References.
If they were good enough to work with another Government Agency I would imagine they are good enough to work for you.
Agree on service levels before you start
It’s a good idea to agree on service levels before you start trading so you know what to expect from your supplier – and they know what to expect from you. It will be easier for you to manage – and probably more cost-effective – if you limit the number of sources you buy from. This is particularly the case with low value-added suppliers.
…but don’t have just a single supplier govtsuppliermag.com offers an array of suppliers from over 40 different industry categories.
It’s always worth having an alternative supply source ready to help in difficult times. This is particularly important with regard to suppliers strategic to your Agencies success.