There’s no question that if you’re an Algood customer you benefit from the diligence we use in selecting suppliers. Our commitment to quality and service can only be maintained with a superior vendor network.
So, how do we pick those great sellers? For starters, we look at all of the obvious criteria. We check to make sure that the people in charge of the operation are well qualified. What’s their reputation in the marketplace? We conduct a site visit and make sure that the work environment is safe and clean. We look carefully at the testing facility and apparatus being used. Our engineering department reviews testing reports and ISO qualifications. We ensure that early production runs match the samples we were given.
The next level involves discovering how they have innovated. Can they be responsive to the very particular customer requirements that we routinely meet? We need suppliers that can be as creative and solution focused as we are. And can they keep their costs in line so that we can meet our pricing commitments?
But here’s the thing. There are companies that meet all those standards that I still wouldn’t want to do business with. I’ve met lots of people who were well qualified on paper but really didn’t know what they were talking about. Ultimately, I want suppliers that are going to take care of me the same way we take care of our customers. I want to know that my business means something to them. Because that way I’ll get top of the line service, an outstanding product and tack-sharp pricing – and I will pass every one of those benefits on to my customers.
Finding those special suppliers comes from the gut – and sometimes takes guts. More than once, I have given business to a vendor who lacked experience but had the drive, the passion, the raw ability and the high regard for quality that would make him successful. We will take the time to “train” a supplier that has the right kind of potential. I have to be personally impressed to take that kind of chance but when I have been, it has almost always worked out well.
A big part of that approach comes from a lesson that I learned from my father. Everyone needs a break in business. At Algood, we owe some key successes to the right break. So, sometimes you end up with a great vendor by giving someone else a break. Business is built on breaks and with them come the trust and loyalty that are invaluable in setting up a high quality supply chain.
There’s nothing worse than being stuck with a supplier out of necessity. And there’s nothing better than having suppliers who are highly motivated and quality driven. It’s all about trust – implicitly trusting that a supplier will help us meet our customers’ needs. And trusting our gut in finding those suppliers.