You know that when it comes to choosing bulk ingredient suppliers, getting the lowest price isn’t everything.
In the last 10 years, the procurement industry has focused more on getting value-- real value-- from their vendors and suppliers. Most would even list this as a top priority when choosing a new partner.
How do you define value? A valuable supplier is one that partners with you, rather than just trying to sell you something. They bring something to the table that helps you improve your own business.
When it comes to choosing an edible oil supplier, here’s the 4 most important traits we think every oil supplier needs to bring to the table to prove their own worth.
They Are An Expert In YOUR Industry
Your bulk oil supplier needs to understand who you are, where you come from and where you want to go. Working with a supplier that has experience in your industry is ideal-- they understand your goals and they have experience with other companies that have been there before you.
They best part is they can act as a guide to help you reach your goals. They know what’s worked and what’s failed for businesses of your size or facilities with similar layouts.
Suppliers like this that can lend insight are infinitely valuable. They can save you countless hours and stress with their practical knowledge. The advice and insight they provide is what you’ll need to be able to strategically move forward.
They Are An Expert In THEIR Industry
A valuable supplier is an expert in their own industry. This doesn’t mean that they have to be the have all the information-- it means they know where to go to collect all the answers that will be pertinent to your business.
An industry expert will be able to educate you. They understand how each type of oil is made and have answers to your most common quality questions. They also know how this information will affect your business choices – for example, if an oil is refined, how does that affect your products price, flavor, color and what will your consumer think of it?
An expert in the edible oils industry is also someone who keeps up to date on the commodity market, pulling information from industry association news, manufacturing mill updates and crop assessments. They compile and share all of this information, along with how it will affect your business and insight on how to move forward.
They provide great customer service
Great customer service speaks for itself, and if you’ve every bought anything, you already understand the value of great customer service.
Look for the following traits when you’re comparing suppliers, because this WILL matter in the long run, I promise you.
Pre-order communication: You can reach them by phone or email. They can provide guidance, explain complex ideas, and answer your questions.
Offers the documents/paperwork you need: Most manufacturers require complex quality control documents to get your ingredients okayed by R&D. After that, your receiving team will continue to need information about each order. Suppliers than have automatic processes set up to provide COAs and other documents will make your life a lot easier.
Post-order communication: A great supplier will be able to communicate with you about availability of your product, timelines, and where your order is in the production or shipping process.
They offer competitive pricing
A supplier that offers competitive pricing is of great worth. Why? Not because they’re giving products away for free… No, you both need to stay in business.
Competitive pricing shows that your supplier is very strategic about their own sourcing process. With commodity items like edible oils, it means that your supplier is buying from high up in the supply chain or directly from the manufacturing mill. It also shows that they are buying based on fluctuations in the market, and doing what they can to lower their own costs.
A Helpful Note: Be wary of any supplier that offers drastically lower prices than the competition, especially in the edible oils market.
Edible oils are a low-margin item, meaning that your suppliers don’t make that much money from selling to you and there isn’t a lot of wiggle room to lower prices. If one supplier has significantly lower prices, it raises questions of oil quality, especially in an industry that is known for adulteration.
How To Search For A Valuable Edible Oil Supplier
In the end, it all comes down to trust. You trust people who have been there before. You trust people who are experts in their field. You trust people who are there for you.
Only work with the kind of people you would want on your own team. If you’re already working with an edible oil supplier, ask yourself, are they doing the following things?
- Are they helping you do your job better?
- Are they making your production team more efficient?
- Are they helping to increase your sales?
- Gut feeling – do you trust them?
If not, it may be time to start looking. And if they are doing those things, wonderful! Pat yourself on the back. You’ve got a great partnership on your hands.
Tell us! What are some other ways that your bulk ingredient suppliers provide value to your business?