With payroll cutbacks in certain industries, buyers are finding that they have more responsibility and less time to accomplish daily tasks. Naturally, many have started to limit meeting with potential suppliers.
Since new vendors can bring money- or time-saving solutions, it is wise to continue hosting meetings. However, it only makes sense to have them with pre-screened suppliers. Below are three ways to quickly assess if a company is worth a scheduled meeting:
- Availability of Testing Capabilities
If internal engineering resources to qualify parts are at a premium, ask potential bearing suppliers if they have either onsite bearing testing facilities or partnerships with third-party test sites. If they do, it can lead to significant cost savings. The supplier’s processes will need to be verified by your company so that test results are deemed acceptable.
- Grade a Sales Person’s Responsiveness
Having a working relationship that starts off on the right foot can go a long way in easing the transition to a new supplier. Be honest about the sales rep’s ability to provide relevant and timely information, and their flexibility in scheduling appointments. Rate them for each factor on a five-point scale. Anyone with an overall score lower than 80% is not worth your time.
- Complete Candor
If your company requires that new vendors provide specific information or meet a set of criteria, such as being EDI compliant or have labeling capabilities, be upfront about the requirements. Ask sales rep to how long it would take for them to provide the appropriate documentation. You may even want to get some of the most important compliance paperwork, such as ISO certifications, as a condition of scheduling the meeting.
However you decide to economize your time, do it with the right metrics in place. Setting expectations ahead of a meeting will ensure that the right people are across the table from you. And, going a few steps beyond reviewing a company’s website or sales materials will ensure that your calendar is open for the right partners.