Suppliers are an essential element of every business. They can provide anything from general overheads to raw materials. While reliable service, and delivering the right goods or services on time as described, are essential when looking for a potential supplier, it takes more than just the basics to be a truly good supplier. Let’s look at what makes a good supplier.

Good suppliers need to have a strong foundation to build off. In basic terms, this means offering the right products, of the right quality, at the right price. The product needs to be available when the customer wants it, and the service needs to be reliable and supported by excellent customer service. Mastering these basics can be the difference between an average supplier and a good supplier. Investigating the reputation of the supplier is a good way to find out if they have mastered the basics.

Above and beyond

Good suppliers aren’t satisfied with simply meeting the minimum requirements—they strive to exceed them. Good suppliers are willing to go the extra mile to provide excellent products and services to their customers.

Good suppliers are leaders in their field and have a positive can-do attitude. They are willing to work with their customers to ensure both parties are winners.

Good suppliers recognize the importance of building strong business relationships built on two-way communication and transparency. This means being a good communicator and keeping customers informed, both when there is good news and when there is a challenge that needs tackling.

Customer relationships with a good supplier

Building off these basics, good suppliers treat their customers as than more than just a number. They strive to ensure that customers know they are understood and appreciated. Working toward this can go a long way toward building customer loyalty.

Another secret of good suppliers is providing more than just products or services. They act as a source of information, helping customers evaluate new products or identify business opportunities. Building and fostering this level of relationship can see suppliers become partners, working alongside customers to cut costs or improve product designs.

From a customer perspective, it’s important to do your research and make sure the potential provider is a good supplier. You could do this by asking colleagues which suppliers they deal with, or who they recommend, or by seeking online reviews.

How good is your product or service?

On the flipside, how can a supplier be sure that they are meeting the demands of customers? Suppliers could start by seeking customer feedback regarding their thoughts of the service offered. Depending on the level of detail required, this could be a simple questionnaire, detailed survey, or focus group. The resulting feedback is invaluable and can be used to learn and grow as a business. Looking for ways to improve is a trait of a good supplier.

These suggestions of what makes a good supplier are only the tip of the iceberg. What makes a good supplier means different things to different people. When considering which supplier to use, it’s important to assess your individual needs and determine which supplier can best meet your requirements.