Public sector procurement officials have to be especially strategic in their selection process to ensure they contract reliable and competent suppliers that will maintain quality over time. While many organizations have different sets of standards, it’s important to know a few central guidelines that are essential for any effective procurement strategy.
Choosing The Right Supplier
The process of selecting the right supplier is multi-layered, and for many organizations it involves both qualitative and quantitative evaluations. That means not just looking at pricing and finance, but also considering the all-around potential and ability of the supplier, and evaluating those abilities against other suppliers to see how they measure up.
This means conducting research and gathering information to ensure your organization lands the best contracts. Once you’ve identified the best class of suppliers, you can confidently execute the purchasing process. Pre-qualifying suppliers is an in-depth, ongoing process, but it plays a large role in determining the success of the organization.
Aligning Values & Objectives
Finding the right supplier also involves assessing the needs and goals of your own organization, such as going green, improving social responsibility, or maximizing efficiency. Are your potential suppliers in alignment with those goals? Are their products technologically innovative? Is their development process forward-looking?
Many factors should be considered as you’re looking to pre-qualify a supplier, but what criteria are absolutely essential? As a public sector procurement official, here are four criteria that you should always consider as you navigate the process of supplier selection.
If other organizations have had negative experiences with a specific supplier, you’ll want to know what conflict arose and how it was handled.
Every supplier should be able to readily supply references who will put in a positive word for their services and goods. Whether the supplier is newly established or has built a credible reputation, you want to research how satisfied other organizations are with their capabilities.
What policies or guarantees does the supplier have in place to ensure you’re satisfied with your products and services, as well as your customer service experience? Being able to rely on helpful and honest customer service representatives is critical to any smooth operation. Do they communicate proactively and transparently?
You also have to be able to rely upon consistency in quality of goods, services, and work, backed by a deep underlying value that the brand places on integrity. The supplier should pay excellent attention to detail throughout their entire production process, and should take pride in maintaining a high level of quality in their delivery process.
Reliable Delivery Times
When you contract out to a supplier, it’s because those goods or services are essential to the success of your organization. If a supplier isn’t reliable and can’t guarantee any specific delivery times, this could have a negative impact on your organization.
Falling more into the quantitative category, assessing the financial position of a supplier is important for determining the reliability and consistency of the company. If the company isn’t firmly grounded financially, they may not be able to continue providing quality products and services for years to come, and you’re looking to develop strong, long-term ties with reliable suppliers.
In evaluating the financial position of a supplier, you’ll want to consider how long they’ve been established, what their profits have been, if they’re in a significant amount of debt, and what their plans are for growth and expansion.
Making a Decision
If you pre-qualify multiple suppliers who measure up equally to these criteria, you may want to look at additional, more granular factors, such as ISO certification, logistic and technological capabilities, and any other factors that are relevant to your specific organization.
The ongoing process of transparent communication with multiple suppliers will help to unveil which candidates are best suited for contracting. In the end, employing the strategy of in-depth research, and actively evaluating each supplier against essential criteria will help ensure that your organization will be in the care of only the best suppliers, and will continue to prosper.