Strategy Partner With the Best
How do you view the supplier? Can you work with a particular company, almost daily at times, and how will you feel about it as a large creditor (your printer, for example)? Is this a company you can count on five years from now? If the answers are "yes," perhaps you should develop a closer working relationship.
How good is the vendor at meeting deadlines? Understand the supplier's schedule, and get its people to commit to what they promise. Will they meet your timeline expectations? How do they back up the team that's assigned to your account when one of your main contacts is out of the office?
How does the vendor feel about your company? Your vendor needs to know your company is one with which it also can grow. Show the vendor you care and are committed to it for the long term.
How much client turnover does the vendor have? Consider the vendor's level of customer turnover. Ask the vendor to discuss customer turnover with you. Find out how long its top 10 customers have been on board. Know what percentage of customer turnover the prospective vendor annually experiences. Find out why customers take their business to another supplier.
Are you serious about changing suppliers? Don't go out for bids unless you're willing to change suppliers. If the supplier feels you're simply shopping the market in order to obtain a better price from your current printer, it won't quote its "best" price to you. This can become a credibility issue. A supplier needs to know you're serious about switching companies for all the right reasons.
Most suppliers would understand if you stay with your current printer for a price difference of up to 5 percent. But, if the differential is more than that, be willing to make the difficult decision to take your business somewhere else. It's generally best not to change suppliers unless there have been issues other than price. If you like your current supplier, most likely its price will be competitive. If all else is equal or close, stay, because transitions are difficult, time consuming and there could be errors caused by learning curves, etc.