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Picking Right Vendors is Essential to Serving Customers

August 1st, 2014 | Posted in Blog

A business like ours that’s about both products and service works hard to build strong relationships with the vendors who build the products we sell. Choosing the right mix of vendors is important both to customer satisfaction and to our bottom line. Our suppliers understand our company’s culture and our value system. They share that mindset.

Our company has learned through the years that it’s important to have enough suppliers to be able to fit every customer’s budget. At the same time, we don’t want to work with too many vendors. Being an important customer for a manufacturer gives them incentive to be flexible about their product lines and competitive on their pricing.

This also saves us significantly on shipping costs. That lets us keep our pricing competitive and pass those savings to our customers. Being able to place big orders with just five manufacturers means that each one is sending us a full truckload—or more—every week.

In our case, we chose those five cabinet makers so we could offer our customers everything from the most basic product up to the highest-end custom designs. Each of those vendors plays an important role in our product mix.

Obviously we are concerned with price when choosing a vendor. But what that means is that we are seeking, and offering our customers, the best value for every price point. Because we will be servicing what we sell for years, we want to invest in value now to avoid future costs and keep our customers happy.

We also value flexibility. That means manufacturers’ willingness to add options to their product lines, such as custom door designs or new finish colors, based on feedback from our customers.

The other most important vendor categories we deal with are counter-top fabricators—the people who shape and install granite and other stone surfaces—and hardware manufacturers. The stone-fabricating subcontractors appreciate having us as a single point of contact with the customer.

With hardware, we have gotten best results by working with a single company that offers several lines of products. You can make things too complicated for customers if you offer an infinite set of choices. Our hardware inventory gives customers a wide selection, but doesn’t overwhelm them.

For us, the right vendors not only meet our product needs, but also share our value system. We build relationships with those manufacturers and subcontractors who help us to bring value to our customers and to our own business plan.