How do you trust your suppliers?

In these challenging times it’s important to make sure the individuals and businesses you associate yourself with are trustworthy and morally upstanding. This is particularly important if you buy materials for the manufacture goods or systems as your reputation and your ability to deliver a quality product will be excessively influenced by your supply chain. You need to know that the materials you buy are suitable for purpose and will perform as your supplier is claiming. Credible suppliers often use third party testing or certification to support their claims or as evidence that their product complies with certain regulations. The supplier will usually provide reports or certificates for you to examine. The devil is in the detail with such paperwork so it is important to thoroughly check the reports, make sure they correspond with what your supplier has told you and ask for explanations if there are any sections you do not understand. If in any doubt over the authenticity of such paperwork it can be prudent to contact the testing or accreditation body for confirmation, a truly trustworthy supplier should have no issue with this.

Once you have established that the product is suitable for your business it is also important to make sure that quality of the product is consistent. Good quality policies or quality management systems are something to look out for in a product supplier. Asking your supplier for a certificate of conformity or certificate of analysis for each batch of material you purchase from them can also provide proof of quality. In addition to quality, to keep your business running smoothly you need supply of the product to be as dependable as possible. Although global supply chain issues are currently affecting almost all businesses some will put more effort than others into mitigating these for their customers. A company’s reputation and testimonials from their customers is generally a good indicator for the level of service you will receive.

Finally, it is always a good idea to investigate the values and ethics of a company you do business with and make sure they align with yours. Not only is it morally the right thing to so but if the practices of your supplier were called into question if could impact on the reputation of your company. Many businesses have ethics and environmental policies that are available for you to view and these can indicate how the companies’ activities affect the wider world.  Arming yourself with as much information as possible about the products you buy and the businesses that supply them can help you make intelligent decisions that will help avoid future issues and protect your company’s image.