Supplier Selection

One of the most important things about Sourcing and Procurement is finding the right suppliers. While every company will have items that they say are superior, it really comes down to selected the best company that will partner with yours, determine what products best fit your needs and make sure that they are there to help you through any issues when using their product.

When working for a hotel company, you can deal with everything from food, beverage, linens, towels, napkins, salt & pepper shakers, furniture, fixtures, ice machines, refrigerators, and so much more. This does not even begin to scratch the amount of categories that a purchasing professional will handle for a large hotel company. While at first glance, this may not seem like a lot of categories; in reality there will be around 10-15 subcategories within the categories noted above. Like Meat, Seafood, Produce, Coffee, etc… these will need a specific company to provide the products within the subcategories and sometimes it will be more than one company providing these products.

So what are some of the main requirements of a good supplier? One, is do they have the product you are looking for, what is the quality of that product and how quickly can they get it to you? What is the cost of the product from them, if they send the wrong product will they send another order to make it right or do you have to wait for the next delivery, do they have minimum order sizes? These are a lot of the surface questions that are asked that will determine how to select a supplier that fits your company’s needs.

Companies will try a number of tricks to give off the appearance that they are the best supplier for your specific needs and there is one trick I have seen used by a number of suppliers, especially in the food and beverage world of suppliers; substitutions… This is when you order a specific product and they do not have it so they send a substitute item, but usually the sub item is ether a lesser quality or something to just get you by but doesn’t quite fit your recipe or needs. This is a way that the supplier can say they are filling your orders and servicing your needs, but not actually to your needs.

Supplier selection is a real art in the procurement world and takes some time to learn the right questions to ask of them to make sure you are selecting the right one. If the right supplier is selected, it can reduce the amount of orders, cost and time the purchasing person has to spend on them; if the wrong supplier is selected it can cost a company more money in time and effort managing that supplier than getting the actual products.

How many of your suppliers have you really vetted?

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