Key Attributes of a Preferred Supplier

Key Attributes of a Preferred Supplier

Key Attributes of a Preferred Supplier

Posted on the 21st of Feb 2018 by Westlab

As a laboratory manager, it can be a debate as to whether you should have preferred suppliers or remain flexible with your ordering requirements. There are pro’s and cons for both options but if you are looking to have a preferred supplier, this article will assist you in determining who this should be. Even if you don’t have preferred supplier, this process may still be a worthwhile exercise to ensure that the suppliers you currently use are up to scratch.

When it comes to a preferred supplier, it can be a good idea to have 2 or 3 preferred suppliers where you will do 95% of your ordering through. You will have your number 1 supplier and then 1 or 2 back up suppliers. It doesn’t matter how good your supplier is, there will be times where unforeseen circumstances can see them be stocked out of certain product lines. In these instances, you can use your other preferred suppliers as a backup in this type of scenario. We’ve identified key areas that you should rank your supplier on before making them your preferred. You are going to want to rank your list of candidates in the below areas:

  • Quality – Rank your supplier on quality. This may be difficult if you haven’t ordered from them before so if this is the case, try and speak to colleagues or other labs that have used them to get their feedback. Are their products of high quality? How do they compare with other suppliers? Can they provide samples of commonly used products? Give them a score between 1 and 10.
    Lead Time – Rank your supplier on their lead time. How long, on average, do they take to deliver your order? Would you rank them faster or slower than other suppliers? If they have products on backorder, do they provide accurate ETA’s on these products? Give them a score between 1 and 10.
  • Support Rank your supplier on the support they provide. Ensure you cover both pre-sale and post-sale support when considering their ranking. Do they address issues promptly? How quickly are you able to contact them? Do you have to sit on hold and wait for support? What is the warranty process like? Are they able to answer product questions and provide you with valuable knowledge to ensure you make the best decision? Give them a score between 1 and 10.
  • Resource Rank your supplier on the resource that is available when ordering. Do they have quality product images? Do they provide additional information on products such as specification sheets? Are their descriptions accurate? Do they have any other resource available such as videos or articles? Give the supplier a score between 1 and 10.
  • Price – Rank your supplier on price. How do they compare with other suppliers? Are they competitive? Are they lower cost? Are they more expensive? Give them a score out of 10 where 1 would be the supplier is extremely expensive and 10 would be the lowest cost supplier you’ve come across.

Repeat the above-ranking process for each of the suppliers you will be evaluating. The next step is to put the data you’ve gathered into a ‘radar’ graph to give you an overview of supplier performance (this can be done in excel). Below you will see an example where 4 suppliers have been ranked in these 5 areas. The radar graph allows you to visually see where suppliers are lacking and where they are performing well. This graph will form the basis of choosing your preferred supplier.

Next, you need to prioritise the 5 grading areas (price, quality, lead time, support, resource) in terms of what is most important to you. From the 5 areas, which is most beneficial? And which is least beneficial. You might rank Support as a higher priority than Price or you might rank Lead Time as most important. This decision is entirely up to you and should be based on what’s most valuable to you and your lab.

After you have prioritised the grading areas, you can now run each supplier you’ve evaluated through a basic calculator that we have created. The calculator will give the supplier a score out of 100. To come up with the score, the calculator considers how you’ve ranked the grading areas to ensure the score is tailored specifically to you. You will need to complete the below calculator for each supplier. The coloured fields are the fields that need to be filled in. The Multiplier column will stay static.

Once you have a score out of 100 for each of the evaluated suppliers, you will now be able to decide your preferred suppliers! The highest scoring supplier will become your preferred supplier and the next 2 highest scoring suppliers can become your backup suppliers. Don’t be afraid to go through this process every 6 months to ensure you are working with the best supplier!

Westlab has a quality management system which is undergoing certification to ISO 9001:2015. The benefits to customers are many, with the emphasis on customer satisfaction (both the needs and expectations) the first priority. The supporting processes of the Quality Management System operate to achieve the goal of full customer satisfaction. The controlling of risk through risk management provides the security of a reliable supplier that can be depended upon to supply your laboratory needs. The quality objectives of speed, hassle-free, and creativity are Westlab motivators to reach this goal.

2018-02-21 23:01:00
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