How to Find Reliable Suppliers (Part 3) – Company Reputation & Size
Part 3 has arrived! If you haven’t been keeping up, this is the third blog post in our four-part series that includes tips on how to pick reliable suppliers. As we’ve said before, 40 years of experience in the manufacturing industry has allowed us to gain a bit of wisdom when it comes to suppliers.
So, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, we’re going to say it again: (1) A supplier can ruin or strengthen some of your most important business relationships, (2) loyal, honest suppliers can be hard to find and (3) there are a few sure-fire ways to avoid winding up in destructive supplier partnerships
It all comes down to four company characteristics that you can easily research online using Google Search and the potential supplier’s website. Those research areas are overall quality, which we talked about in Part 1; demonstrated risk mitigation, the topic of Part 2; the final topic, ability and willingness to customize; and today’s topic, company reputation and size. So, let’s get started!
Source #1: Google Search
1. Check for involvement in past lawsuits
You might notice that this tip also appears in our quality article. But, it’s such an important aspect of company character, we felt like we should reiterate it here. Lawsuit involvement is always a red flag. Your research might reveal that the supplier was not at fault, but it’s critical to find out. All you need is Google Search and a super simple, yet solid, search term, and you’ll be on your way to being in the know. For your convenience, you’ll find a query template below:
[Company Name] lawsuit
So, your search term would look something like, “Axon Widgets lawsuit.” Simple, yet powerful.
2. Check the Better Business Bureau
Sure, this one’s a no-brainer, but how could we possibly leave it out? The Better Business Bureau is still one of the best sources of information on company reputation. To make things nice and simple, we’ve provided the link to the homepage right here. So what are you waiting for?
3. Check the news
This is a lesser-known reputation research tool, but it is possibly one of the most powerful you’ll find. Sometimes, when a company has been involved in disputes, unscrupulous dealings or received some sort of recognition for being a great company, you’ll find it in the news. Often, these sources are smaller, local papers and community websites. However, thanks to Google’s awesome algorithm, these small, obscure sources are easy to find—that is, if you have the right search term. Something like this:
[Company Name] Google News
Again, it’s really that easy. Alternatively, you can click on the “news” link at the top of the Google Search page, and then enter the supplier’s name there.
Source #2: Company Website
1. Check their track record
Obviously, no company in its right mind would publish negative content on its “About Us” or “Company History” pages. However, there’s a great chance that, if the supplier has earned any recognition or awards, you’ll learn all about it on those pages. So, have a look. If a supplier has a stellar reputation they’re willing to talk about, they’re definitely worth giving a second look.
2. Check for locations / facilities
Many people don’t know that having multiple facilities is correlated with dependability. That’s because, when a supplier operates out of multiple locations, that supplier has greater capacity. And greater capacity means better ability to meet deadlines. This isn’t to say that every small supplier with a single facility is less dependable than the bigger guys, but, depending on your operational and product needs, a good supplier with multiple locations could be a golden ticket for your productivity.
3. Check for trade-related agency affiliations
A supplier who joins high-quality trade-related agencies is demonstrating a desire for accountability. And a desire for accountability is a good sign the company cares about its reputation. You’ll usually find this sort of information on the “About Us” or “Company History” pages. You should also check for trade organization logos on the supplier’s homepage and product pages.
The next time you’re in the market for a good partner, don’t forget to check their reputation. The tools above are pretty much all you need. So, use them! Also, be sure to check out Part 1, where we talk about gauging overall quality, and Part 2, where you’ll learn how to check for demonstrated risk mitigation. Stay tuned for Part 4 in our series. We’ll show you how to make sure your potential supplier is capable of—and willing to—give you the customization options you need. See you soon!
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