The sourcing climate has seen a significant shift in recent times, with the most pronounced changes arising in the past twelve months. The political uncertainty presiding over UK industry since the referendum in 2016, compounded by the supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, has resulted in a surge of reshoring, meaning that UK subcontract suppliers are now busier than ever.
This has meant that many buyers are now finding it difficult to locate suppliers who have the capacity to take on their project. The number of quotes they receive is reduced, simply because suppliers are now able to be more selective about the work they take on.
However, this doesn't need to be the case. By simply making your project more appealing to suppliers, you can ensure that you receive a range of quotes every time. Here are a few ways you can make your next project more enticing to potential new suppliers:
Provide As Much Information As Possible:
Details such as materials, approvals and batch sizes can all affect whether or not a supplier is able to quote for your work.
Suppliers will often be much more interested in providing a quote for your project if you provide them with in-depth information about what is required. It allows the supplier to assess whether or not your project is a good match for their capabilities and ensures that they have all of the information they need to quote upfront. Details such as materials, approvals and batch sizes can all affect whether or not a supplier is able to quote for your work, meaning that it's beneficial to be as open as possible in regards to the finer aspects of your project.
Suppliers will also appreciate some insight when it comes to the timescales involved. As management of their capacity is something that needs to be planned in advance, suppliers will be much more willing to quote for your project if they know that they are able to meet the delivery dates requested. It's always better to be as transparent as possible to ensure that both parties benefit from your business relationship.
READ: How Has a Global Pandemic Shaped the UK's Subcontract Purchasing Landscape?
Make Sure Your Drawings Are Up To Standard:
Good drawings present you as a professional organisation that a supplier wants to work with.
Good technical drawings go a long way when it comes to making your project more appealing. They demonstrate to the supplier that you have all of the required information for them to quote; if you have a clear understanding of what you need and are able to communicate this, then the supplier knows that there is no guesswork involved.
Good drawings also present you as a professional organisation that a supplier wants to work with. New business relationships are always a bit of a leap of faith for both parties - as much as you want to work with a supplier who delivers on time and provides good quality, the supplier also wants to work with buyers who pay promptly and have realistic expectations. Rough sketches can make the supplier wary that you do not have a full understanding of what you need, which could come back to bite them at a later stage.
If you can't get hold of CAD drawings then that's not a problem. Hand-drawn sketches can be just as effective, but remember to take the time to make your drawing presentable, using a ruler where needed and clarifying details such as required materials and finishes.
READ: Common Mistakes Buyers Make When Sourcing Subcontract Engineering Suppliers
Communicate Openly With Suppliers:
A quick telephone conversation will allow both parties the chance to assess compatibility.
Open communication is one of the best ways to build rapport - but it's important to remember that this is always a two-way street. A supplier may wish to ask questions about your project before quoting, or they may simply want to call and introduce themselves. Either way, if you can make time to have these conversations - preferably by phone instead of email - then they are always worthwhile.
Suppliers don't generally want to work with buyers who are uncontactable, because this can lead to all manner of headaches further down the line. A quick telephone conversation will allow both parties the chance to assess compatibility, and you may gain further insight into additional value-adds that the supplier is able to offer.
Rapport-building is always an extremely important stage of the business process, but it relies on both the buyer and supplier being willing to have a conversation or two. Remember to make yourself available to suppliers wherever possible.
READ: Five Reasons to Use a National Supply Chain
Ongoing Or Not?
It's better to find a supplier who can assist for the total duration of your project from the offset.
Suppliers will have different preferences surrounding the longevity of work depending on how busy they currently are and their available capacity in the imminent future. As much as suppliers want to know the delivery date for the initial project, they also want to know whether or not it is likely to become an ongoing requirement.
There really is no right or wrong answer here. Some suppliers will be looking for a long-term relationship and repeat work, whilst others will simply be looking to fill gaps in production. It's better to find a supplier who can assist for the total duration of your project from the offset; likewise, suppliers will appreciate transparency as to how long their services will be required.
Withholding this information may stop some suppliers from quoting for your project, simply because they don't know if they can commit for the period of time you need. On the flipside, other suppliers may not see your project as filling enough of their capacity, but may think differently if they knew that it was an ongoing requirement. No matter the project duration, being open and honest from the start may help you to receive more quotes and benefit both parties in the long run.
READ: The Rise In Reshoring - Why Are So Many Companies Bringing Manufacturing Back to the UK?
Struggling to Find Suppliers With Capacity?
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