Purchasing Print and Promotional Products? Look for an ISO Certified SupplierPart #3 in a Series: What Our ISO Certification Means to You

Over the next couple of months, I’m going to be talking periodically about how the things we do here at Superior Business Solutions in order to maintain ISO standards have a direct impact on you and your business. Each post will feature one of the key content areas listed in the requirements for certification. Today’s topic: suppliers.

We’re proud to have achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification, and we’ve certainly learned some things in the process that have made our company even better. We’ve always valued our supplier network, of course – the quality and diversity of that network are among the most important things we offer our customers. But the certification process caused us to appreciate suppliers even more, and recognize the fact that our well-being depends largely upon theirs. If you are purchasing print and promotional products, there are some reasons why you should work with an ISO Certified supplier who appreciates their suppliers too. 

Traditional View Short-Sighted

In some “old-school” companies, when it comes to purchasing print and promotional products, suppliers are still seen as nothing more than that – a source of materials. Supplier X agrees to provide a certain number of print or promotional products at a certain price for a certain period of time. When that contract expires, the negotiation starts all over again, often with the supplier required to promise an even lower price or lose the business.

The problem with it is that in such purely “transactional” relationships, no trust is established, and no attention is paid to the ongoing viability of the relationship. That’s not good for the supplier, who often risks the long-term health of his/her company by trimming profit margins, decreasing staff, or taking other desperate steps in order to continue doing business with the company he or she is supplying. In the end, it is not good for you either as it simply raises prices for the end user.

Not Good for the Purchasing Company, Either

A company purchasing print and promotional products that treats its suppliers as expendable and forces them to jump through ever more challenging economic hoops would do well to take a look at this practice. A supplier’s business viability matters to the end user…YOU. If that supplier cuts corners in order to deliver, the end customer will be dissatisfied with the final product. If the supplier is “squeezed” too hard and too often, it may cease operation, taking away a reliable resource and making the future just a little less secure.

Efficient supplier practices and the use of smart, money-saving processes are clearly desirable and should be encouraged. But a relationship that is indifferent to a supplier’s long-term business viability is short-sighted and potentially damaging to all people and companies involved.

The ISO process also evaluates suppliers based on their ability to respond quickly to market and consumer needs, as well as the degree to which they control costs and make the best use of natural resources.

At Superior Business Solutions, our suppliers are extremely important to us because they are important to you, and most of our supplier relationships have been honed and refined over the 90 plus years we have been in business. We know the strengths of each, and call upon those strengths as needed to meet customer demands with the right quality and timing. By recognizing key suppliers and working with them as partners, we help ensure that together we do the best possible job meeting and exceeding customer needs, and enjoy a business relationship that allows both parties to thrive.

It’s another way that the ISO experience has helped make us an even better company and helps your purchasing process of print and promotional products. Look for another example soon. But if you’d like to chat about it – so would I. Just give me a call.

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