Here’s what to look for in a supplier to help you get your workplace safety equipment with minimal stress.
Your small business runs, in part, on the strength of your relationships. Your staff, your customers, and your colleagues make you who you are. The same is true of your relationship with your suppliers.
Choosing a safety equipment supplier the right way is the difference between finding a supplier who makes your life easier and one who causes endless headaches.
Whether you’re starting up a new business, expanding, or just not quite satisfied with your current supplier, we’re here to help you determine who might be the right new supplier for you.
We’ll start by talking about finding potential suppliers. Following that, we’ll look at the qualities you want to look for in your new partnership.
While a good supplier won’t solve all your problems, you may find that you save a lot of unnecessary stress by being careful with your choice.
Finding a New Supplier
It can be a bit daunting to start from scratch in your search. A simple Google search will yield a multitude of results, some of them in your area, but likely not applicable to your particular business.
Your first task is narrowing down this list.
Depending on the extent of your experience in your field, you may already have found brands you trust. If that’s the case, that brand’s website may be a good place to start your search.
Finding your next supplier for Pelsue equipment takes only a simple click. Here on our website, we have a map of our trusted worldwide network of distributors.
If you’re looking for equipment from another manufacturer, this may still be a good place to start (plus it will give you the chance to compare with similar Pelsue equipment).
Your desired manufacturer might not have a similar feature. But searching on Google for “(Brand) distributor” should yield results.
If you’re still trying to come up with a short list of distributors, another way to curate your options is to reach out to other businesses in the same field as you.
Aside from getting leads and inside tips on trusted suppliers, forming relationships with those in your field can be a good idea. If they’re not your direct competitors, a mutual trust between you may make it more likely that they’ll refer jobs to you where appropriate.
The questions you ask suppliers should reflect your own preferences for your supplier. Let’s get into some ideas to help you determine your priorities.
What to Look for in a Supplier
For the next few minutes, this is going to sound a bit like a dating advice column, so brace yourself.
The first step is to get an idea for the things that you’re looking for in a distributor. Choosing a supplier is a process and knowing what you want going into it means you can eliminate options from the get-go, which makes for less trial and error.
Ask yourself some of the following questions: What, if any, minimum orders does the supplier have? Is it case minimum or a price minimum? What is their return policy? Are their payment terms and conditions manageable?
After going through this process, you may likely have a short list of promising suppliers in mind. You’re ready to make contact. But evaluating your supplier doesn’t end here.
Your First Few Orders
It’s time to see how dedicated your new supplier is to you.
Communication is the key to all relationships, and your supplier should be no different. A great way to test this is to reach out with a question or two.
How promptly do they respond? The answer to that question is hugely important. At this stage in the process, they’re trying to turn you from a potential to an actual customer. They should be trying to impress you.
While you’re at it, try to see how much your potential future rep knows about your line of work. Ask detailed questions about product performance or for their opinion as to what equipment might work best for you.
If they are able to give you detailed, well thought out responses, that’s a great sign. They either have hands-on experience themselves or, more importantly, they listen to feedback from their customers.
On the other hand, if they evade answering or are very clearly trying to up-sell you without regard to actual performance, that’s probably a bad sign of things to come. Of course, sometimes the more expensive choice is also better, but they should be able to justify it well.
This is especially important when it comes to safety equipment.
With safety gear, whether it be ventilation, fall protection, or manhole equipment, you don’t want to stress test your gear on the job. Getting expert guidance on the supply end makes your whole team safer day in and day out.
Developing a long-term relationship with a reliable supplier is the goal, but it’s important to not let inertia keep you locked in a situation that has stopped working for you.
There’s usually a “honeymoon phase” with distributors, an initial period where they go further to win and keep you as a client. As time goes on, and their efforts turn to new customers, it’s not unheard of to experience a dip in service.
The best suppliers know that there’s always competition, so they don’t let their divided attentions affect you too drastically. But if you notice it’s regularly taking longer and longer to get a hold of your rep, it may be time to look at alternatives.
Beyond that, your business changes. Your crew expands, you begin taking on different sorts of jobs, you get busier, you cover more territory. If you have a good supplier, hopefully they can scale with you. If not, it may be time to move on.
And just like a dating advice column would say, if you aren’t happy, it’s totally fine to end that relationship and look for one that works better.
By following the same process: setting your priorities, checking for communication, and continually evaluating your relationship, you’ll be well positioned to find a new supplier when the time comes.
We wish you the best of luck on your search and hope finding a new supplier doesn’t cause you too much of a headache.