Cultivating meaningful relationships with your Surplus Operation’s Vendors
Are your vendor relationships rosy? Or are they as prickly as thorns? The following blog post looks at some steps you can take to help ensure every vendor relationship is a positive one.
During the month of February, there is a lot of talk about relationships, the different types, and what it takes to make them meaningful. These relationships, if successful, are formed slowly with a serious vetting process and then flourish, becoming mutually beneficial and long lasting. From smelters to auctioneers, one surplus department may form many different relationships. We’ve pulled together a list (okay, a word cloud) with just some of the different types of vendors a surplus property program may court.
Now that may seem like a lot to handle! How can you make decisions on all of these types of vendors? By implementing a process to vet potential vendors, you can help ensure that you form relationships with stable, reputable companies and people that will meet all of your regulations and standards. By doing this you will prevent surprises from popping up down the road, be able to answer for all of your waste and materials even after they leave your warehouse, and ensure you are spending money wisely.
Deal breakers and Deal makers
Before you even start looking for vendors, consider exactly what it is you are looking for. Are there vendor qualities that might be considered deal breakers or others that just might seal the deal? It is important to understand your organization’s needs before engaging in a search for a vendor (let alone a long term relationship).
Do Your Research
There are plenty of fish in the sea. Look around to find out what is available before making any decisions. Looking at all of the potential vendor options may help you discover new criteria for choosing the right vendor for you. You may end up selecting the vendor operating nearest to you, or the vendor you were already familiar with, but by researching other options you can be even surer of your decisions.
Narrow the Playing Field
Now it’s time to take a deeper look and start asking questions. Talk to other departments and leverage your relationships with other institutions to get good, honest feedback about vendors. It is also okay to ask the potential vendors for references or a list of other entities that utilize their services. You may learn which companies to avoid, and which ones have a stellar track record.
Go on a few dates
Before you make your final selection, pick up the phone and call the top prospects. Now might be a good time to revisit exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to ask vendors tough questions and weigh their answers against each other. Price, customer service, experience and available options are all important factors that can help you determine which vendor to select. You may not know the answers if you leave these important questions unasked.
With your vetting process in place, your college or university surplus department can be more confident in your vendor relationships. By investing a bit of time before making your selection you can save your organization from suffering headaches related to compliance issues, wasted resources, and more.
What types of vendors do you work with? Let us know so we can add them to our word cloud!