Top Tips For Selecting and Evaluating A Vendor

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Date: June 9, 2020 | Category: Quality | Author: Michelle Wong

There are several specific factors to consider when selecting the right vendor for your business needs. It can be a daunting experience with so many vendors offering seemingly similar services. This article will help you determine what you should be looking for when selecting a vendor, and how to evaluate its performance. 

What to look for when selecting a vendor

To start your evaluation, there are four key areas to keep in mind:

1. Is their staff well-trained and kept up-to-date with industry standards?  

Illustration of a teacher giving a course to a group students

The vendor should be able to provide you with evidence proving their level of investment into employee training. It can be in the form of internal or external training. 

Ultimately, you need to be confident in knowing that your vendor is providing the resources necessary to keep their employees up-to-date with technical product knowledge and skills, as well as operational procedures. Employees must be able to operate the technologies competently and identify any issues.

2. Do they follow standard operating procedures (SOP) to ensure safety and security?

illustration of a group of people checking a document with internal processes

The vendor should have SOPs in place that define and document internal processes for each department. There should be clear accountability, such as audit trails and system logs that allow for traceability.

Employees should be following them in the exact same way every time to ensure consistency and a reduction in errors. This is especially necessary for onboarding new employees so that they are able to get up to speed quickly. 

3. Have they implemented a solid IT security policy?

Illustration of laptop with password protection

Having a comprehensive IT security policy in place indicates that the vendor takes data security and privacy seriously. If you provide your company data to them, you need to know that it will be used according to the agreed purposes. 

Look for a vendor that has established practices and processes already in place to ensure data isn’t being used or accessed by unauthorized individuals or parties. Their IT security policy should include an acceptable use policy, data security policy, and data classification policy.

4. Are they able to provide quality metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs)?

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If you provide the vendor with specific KPIs, they need to have a way to evaluate their metrics to ensure they hit your targets. Ask the vendor what procedures they have in place to measure their operational performance.

Check if they have an internal audit program and if it’s conducted on a regular basis. Procedures need to be routinely reviewed and adapted in order to maintain the standards you require.

How to evaluate your vendor’s performance

To ensure your vendor is providing you with the level of service and quality required, they should be successfully performing against the following factors: 

illustration of product reviews

Quality control 

You need to have a full guarantee that your products are hitting the market consistently and error-free. Any errors on labels or packaging can result in expensive recalls, causing potential harm to consumers and/or damage your company brand. Vendors with quality control procedures in place are far less likely to result in such negative consequences.

Some industries are facing increasingly stringent requirements relating to product packaging, quality, and safety, so it’s absolutely essential that vendors be able to successfully meet regulatory requirements.

Project completion time 

illustration of vendor tools and equipment

It’s essential that your vendor conducts its operations in the most efficient way possible so your products are able to get to market according to business timelines. A failure to manage time and project management effectively will potentially result in delayed production.

In addition to having SOPs in place, a way for your vendor to speed up production output while reducing quality issues is by using a quality inspection system. This reduces the need for manual proofreading and visual inspection, which is at high risk for introducing errors and rework. 

a desktop computer screen with a text inspection software

Innovation and technology 

Your vendor should have top-of-the-line technology and be leaders in innovation. Evidence of this includes practicing continuous improvement and implementation of new innovations to stay competitive. Innovation in packaging design can take many forms, including introducing new technology, changes to the supply chain, and product and process improvements.

By investing in its own business, your vendor is demonstrating their commitment to providing you with the best product and service, which, in the end, benefits your customers. Your vendor will be able to better serve your needs when it comes to faster turnaround times, reduced waste levels, improved product quality, and providing a wider product range.

Tracking and reporting 

3 adults analyzing a dashboard

All vendor activities related to your business need to be transparent. You should be able to measure and monitor their performance, and they should be able to access the information required for operations. Inspection reports should be easily accessible and communicated between both parties. This includes automated performance tracking and access to a full audit trail if requested. 

Measurement can also go beyond the basic aspects of quality, delivery, and cost. Also, consider measuring the overall success of the relationship you have with your vendor and their level of accountability and responsiveness.

Evaluating your vendor saves you time and money

Doing your due diligence in selecting the right vendor and conducting a thorough evaluation of their performance is critical in achieving high-quality servicing and production. By selecting a competitive vendor that has strong quality control measures, effective project management, and invests in new technologies, you are creating a partnership that will support the long-term success of your business. 

Not only are you ensuring that your packaging is created efficiently and correctly, but benefits also include saved time and costs, which then transfer to your customers and create a better experience with your brand.