Finding the right supplier to work with can be a daunting task, they can make your job super easy or quite frustrating (to put it nicely). Sure, price is a factor, but what else should you consider? Below is a list of 10 things to look for when evaluating a supplier:

✓ ISO Certified –

Certifications aren’t always easy to get so when a company is certified, then you can have confidence that they are covered in the basics of a good production process

✓ Willing to be audited –

If a supplier is willing to be audited then you know they are willing to be transparent and have nothing to hide

✓ Provide direct support –

Will they provide a direct technical and/or quality contact? If something goes wrong, it is nice to have a specific contact to call that is prepared to deal with issues if they occur

✓ Proper quoting process –

Documentation is important, do they have a quote form or are they just sending some numbers in an email?

✓ Willing to provide credit references and/or fill out a supplier questionnaire (if you have one) –

Similar to their willingness to be audited, credit references and questionnaires are a way to get a deeper look into the company you might be hiring. Generally speaking, if they don’t have a great history then they are less likely to be forthcoming

✓ Ability to sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) –

It is important to trust the companies you buy from, often times the nature of the product cannot be discussed and an NDA might be necessary, if they are not willing and able to sign, you might want to keep looking for a different supplier

✓ Ability to deliver on time –

When they quote a lead time, do they stick to it? This might be hard to know if you’ve never done business with them but what do other companies say? Any reviews online?

✓ Engaged –

Are they genuinely interested in helping to solve your needs? Do they think outside the box to find the right solution?

✓ Responsive –

Do they get back to you in a timely manner? How has their customer service been? It is important to feel like you are going to be well taken care of

✓ Have industry knowledge –

Do they understand your needs? Can they explain why their product and company is better than the competition?

 Pro tip: look at what other companies have chosen this supplier, good companies choose good suppliers!


What else have you found to be important when searching for suppliers? What about red flags? Share your thoughts in the comments below.