So here we go, the start of 2018 and the traditional ‘New Year, New You’ posts are in full flow. So, whilst jumping on the bandwagon I thought it would be appropriate to comment on a theme that reared its ugly head on a number of occasions late in 2017.

When discussing the reason for enquiry, we were surprised to learn that many of the urgent requests we received were from buyers, who had been let down by their current suppliers on delivery of machined parts or materials. They required urgent support to find new suppliers who could help resolve the difficult situation that their previously reliable contact had left them in.

It is clearly frustrating, but not a surprise that delays and hold ups occur; what is surprising is that companies don’t have contingency plans in place for when these problems develop. When businesses ask, ‘why would I use your service?’ we now question whether they have back up suppliers in place and if not, offer our support to find relevant companies who may serve as suitable back ups.

Now I’m not saying that your suppliers are unreliable, lacklustre or certain to let you down, but you never know what lies around the corner that might have an economic impact. In the past 10 years there have been volcanic eruptions that grounded many flights in Europe during 2010, Tsunamis and earthquakes in Asia that caused parts’ shortages for Tech Giants like Samsung in 2011, and of course the global economic crisis of 2007/08.

Below are some key points to consider when thinking about how you can protect yourself against delays in your supply chain.

New Suppliers will go above and beyond

New suppliers are likely to want to bend over and help you meet deadlines to prove themselves to you as it’s always harder to win new business than to renew current clients.

Create a network of back ups

Don’t just stick to one back up, have a series of companies that you know can help you in your hour of need. You never know, as you investigate you may find suppliers that can challenge your current provider.

Be Open and Honest

If you are looking to strengthen your Supply Network, but there isn’t a specific opportunity available for a new provider to win, make sure you let prospective suppliers know.

Test Suppliers

Try before you buy. If relevant, ask for samples or low order volumes to ensure that any new supplier will be able to deliver the required product on time and to the required standard.

Don’t leave it until you need it

You cannot predict when you may need an alternative source, be prepared and put in the ground work to ensure suppliers are in place before you need them.

One final thought; If you’re reading this and thinking that your suppliers are only likely to let you down once in a blue moon, there’s a blue moon on January 31st 2018! (and another on March 31st 2018) So it might be time to be prepared.

If you would like the support of Applegate PRO in sourcing suppliers for existing or new projects we would be happy to hear from you. The Applegate system is free for buyers to use and we take no commission on any sales, you can be sure the suppliers we recommend can quote on your projects as competitively as possible.



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