How to choose a supplier of additives or ingredients? Part 1
When we think about the success of any given company, one of the first things we consider are their customers; that is, how to get their attention, how to generate interest and desire, and finally how to make them buy our product. We tend to think that the success of a company is determined almost exclusively by its sales levels.
However, another of the key elements for the prosperity and stability of a company has to do with the choice of its suppliers and the relationship it has with them. That is why it is essential to carry out an identification, investigation and comparison process between the different supplying companies in order to guarantee the right choice.
In the case of additives and ingredients suppliers, specifically, it is vitally important to identify and select the appropriate supplier company, since this may have implications ranging from the quality of the final product to the acceptance of our product in the market. In that sense, it is important not only that its ingredients have high levels of quality, but also that the supplier has a series of complementary services that strengthen a long-term relationship.
Although price plays a fundamental role in the purchase of any product, there are many other factors that may be relevant when selecting our suppliers and that are often not taken into account.
Here, we will explain 14 criteria that BTSA considers relevant when evaluating and selecting a supplier of additives and functional ingredients. In this article we will see the first seven criteria, and in the next post we will explain the following seven.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, price per unit of product is the element that many companies give more importance when purchasing an additive or ingredient (e.g. price per kg, price per liter, etc.).
It is obvious that before choosing an additive or ingredients supplier it is necessary to compare the prices of the different alternatives available. The important thing is that this comparison is always made taking into account the same criteria and avoid making a decision based on this factor only, since there are always other things to consider in addition to the price.
However, in addition to comparing the cost of the product, customers should compare the value that a certain additive or ingredient can bring to their business. As we will see below, taking into account the following criteria when selecting an ingredient supplier will have a direct impact on the customer’s business, so a correct choice will considerably increase the value of the product being purchased. We must not forget that the price is what you pay, but value is what you receive.
2. Quality Assurance
One of the differentiating characteristics of a good additive and ingredient is its commitment to the quality of its products. There are suppliers that invest an important part of their resources to continuous improvement processes and to certify, through external organizations, both their products and their production processes, with the aim of guaranteeing their clients the highest quality standards.
Depending on the market in which a supplier wants to sell its ingredients, it may be necessary for it or its products to have certain certifications. Otherwise, it will most likely be scrapped by potential buying companies.
A second element to consider is the experience the supplier has about a particular product. The know-how, or expertise, refers to all that technical and/or administrative knowledge that is needed in relation to a particular type of additive or ingredient so that it can be sold and used in certain markets.
In that sense, a generalist supplier is not the same as a specialized one, since the latter’s knowledge about your product can be of great help and make a big difference, especially when the buyer company has no experience in the handling and use of this product.
4. Target market
The target market to which a product is aimed must also be taken into account during the selection process of an additive supplier, as there are markets that require a high level of technical and regulatory knowledge.
The more markets a supplier knows, the more likely it is to have the necessary experience to address certain issues, such as those related to the use of products, current regulations or obtaining quality certificates. In addition, some suppliers have staff dedicated exclusively to regulatory issues, so support for their customers would be even better.
5. Technical Support & Complementary Services
Besides taking into account the product itself, its availability or its price, it is also necessary to know if the supplier is able to provide support and technical advice, or if it has complementary services that at any given time can help make decisions or solve incidents.
Some suppliers can give technical support, from their sales team to people from quality or R&D departments. This advice can be a differentiating factor between one supplier and another, especially when new products are developed and when an expert opinion is needed.
On the other hand, there are suppliers that offer laboratory services to test the products in order to find the most appropriate solution for their client.
Another factor that can determine the choice of one ingredient supplier over another is geographical proximity. This is important because many times business relationships are strengthened better and faster when there is a close relationship between the supplier and its customer. The proximity implies ease and speed in the service, avoiding international tariffs or cost overruns for the exchange rates.
On the other hand, there are suppliers that have a wide distribution network, which allows them to reach any corner of the world even without having a subsidiary or sales office in all countries.
The level of customization that the supplier is able to offer its customers is a very important feature to assess their hiring. That the supplier offers products adapted to the specific needs of each client allows to optimize the quality of the final product, increasing the level of satisfaction for a lasting relationship.
The customization of ingredients or additives is an upward trend in the food, nutraceuticals, personal care or animal nutrition markets, so it is important to consider what possibilities our suppliers offer us in this regard.
So far, we have seen the first seven factors to consider when assessing and selecting an additives or ingredients supplier. In the second part of this article we will see the following seven criteria that must be taken into account to make an accurate decision.
Click here to read the article How to choose a supplier of additives or ingredients? Part 2.
Photo credit: Toby Stodart (Unsplash)