Developing a well-vetted supplier network is a great way for a modern machine shop owner to grow their business.
When shops can concentrate their spend with a few select suppliers, they typically benefit from better prices than they would get if they were only reaching out for one-off projects. More importantly, building a supplier network allows shops to expand their capabilities and take on a wider range of jobs.
Here are NTMA’s best practices for developing and maintaining a strong supplier network that benefits modern machine shops and their customers.
Best Practices for Developing and Maintaining Your Supplier Network
- Listen to your customers. Your customers should be the guiding force as you develop your supplier network. Ask yourself what needs they have that you’re currently unable to meet. If you can serve as a one-stop-shop, you minimize the risk of losing a contract and increase your chances of acquiring new work. Your customers will save time and possibly money by consolidating their supply chains, and you’ll grow your business. It’s a win-win.
- Track your no quotes. Leverage your quoting data to make intentional choices about the suppliers you partner with. Chances are you’ll notice patterns in your no-quotes. Are you consistently turning customers away because of one particular service? It may be time to find a trusted supplier so you can begin accepting that business.
- Analyze your supply chain regularly. Requirements for contract manufacturing companies are always changing. Once you add suppliers to your network, it’s your responsibility to ensure that they’re up to date with certifications and requirements. If they aren’t, they could pose a liability for you and your customers. Analyze your supply chain regularly to ensure that your network is helping your business rather than harming it.
- Market yourself effectively. It may sound obvious, but as you add to your capabilities, be sure to promote them! Many potential customers will visit your website before working with you. They’ll rely on the information they find to decide if they want to give you their business. List all the services you offer to showcase what sets you apart from your competitors.
- Be a good customer. Consider the golden rule and treat your suppliers how you like to be treated! You’re probably willing to go the extra mile for your best customers, so work to be a top customer for your suppliers to get exceptional service. Developing a strong partnership with your suppliers will only improve your relationships with your own customers.
- Leverage your NTMA membership. An NTMA membership opens shop owners up to a whole new world of networking possibilities. There are plenty of opportunities within NTMA to build supplier relationships with other shops, and their suppliers, locally or nationally.
Join NTMA today for more tips and information on how to run a modern machine shop.