Recently, Spicers’ sales director, Steve Morley, spoke to OPI about the five key things dealers must consider when building their strategic sourcing plans. In case you missed it, you can catch up below…
Customers’ operations are changing faster than ever before, and the rise in hybrid and remote working – amplified by the shifting market sectors in which dealers are competing in – means that a standard business supplies offering simply doesn’t cut it anymore.
As the requirements for products expands, dealers’ need to seek suppliers that have flexibility and the infrastructure to expand too – to meet evolving buyer demands. And, while it might feel like 2023 is a long way off, we can’t sit on our hands when it comes to planning for the future – so here’s a great place to start.
1. Seek stable pricing and savvy stock picking
We’re living through a time with unprecedented price hikes across all facets of life – and dealers don’t want to be held back by above inflationary increases. That’s why it’s important to find a procurement partner that offers both own brand products – that are great quality and value – as well as industry ‘names’ too.
Research where that stock is kept (in the UK vs. abroad), what technology is found within, and book a tour of the facility – if one is on offer. Solutions such as automated A-frame and pick-by-light systems will ensure optimal efficiency, as well as box cutting systems to reduce waste and offset the carbon footprint of your supplier’s operations – benefits which support your own eco credentials, too.
Finding a partner that has invested in the latest high-tech picking and packing solutions, to keep costs under control, should mean such savings will circle back to you.
2. Pass your own savings on to your customers
Developing a strong supplier-partner relationship should see savings – in both a monetary sense and in relation to carbon costs – of overheads such as warehousing and fleet soaked up by your supplier, leaving change in your own pocket.
Linked to that – and at a time when the economy is in flux – while the dealer marketplace encourages customers to ‘single source’ in a bid to reduce cost and complexity, dealers are then splitting orders on ‘best price wins’ in most cases – bringing the added cost and complexity back into their own business.
So, how can you reduce your costs? While it’s sometimes tempting to go for labels you recognise – because customers will trust them too – ‘own brand’ products will often be cheaper than the market staple, and frequently just as high quality, if not better. What’s more, for generic sourcing, own brands will help you to save on key selling lines – win-win.
3. Trust – and investment – goes a long way
Dealers need a partner that can deliver the right product, to the right place, time and again. High levels of stock availability and investment in the latest industry-leading platforms – such as Zendesk and Microsoft D365 – will ensure your preferred supplier stays ahead of the marketplace.
Of course, there’s no getting away from the fact that costs are increasing, and stock is uncertain, therefore choosing suppliers that are stable and reliable is key. Those who can evidence an agile and robust supply chain will be central to success in the challenging times ahead.
Do your homework to check your chosen supplier invests in an expanding stock portfolio, and can provide consistently good service, with human-to-human interactions, at a competitive price – all core elements in the longevity of relationships, across the supply chain.
4. Collaborate with people who understand your needs
It goes without saying, that you want to be dealing with a business which is managed and run by people with a wealth of experience in the wholesale market. Now, more than ever, it’s important to seek out a partner which truly believes in the value of customer service and can communicate through a variety of means – such a telephone, email, and live chat.
There’s no escaping the fact that the world has become more eco-conscious – and organisations which have invested in a CSR manager will do the ‘heavy lifting’ when it comes to ensuring future products are sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Those suppliers which offer ‘greener’ ranges, and back up such products with data which can be passed onto customers – to include in their own reporting – are the ones that will flourish.
5. Commodity costings are a thing of the past
It might sound obvious, but suppliers which offer pricing that is competitive, and constantly market-checked to ensure best value for money, is key to staying ahead of the competition.
The old style of working with commodity pricing on key lines and trade discount on the remainder is now a thing of the past. Instead, it’s about offering the best value for money across the entire product range, to be able to compete with fellow ecommerce providers.
There’s no getting away from the fact that quality goods with economical pricing are difficult to source – but the right stock partner should benchmark costs, so you don’t have to.
At Spicers, for example, our 5 Star product line is a credible alternative to a branded product – a range which rivals market-leading brands for quality and variety, and offers best value for money workplace essentials.
There’s a lot on offer at Spicers
Built on a core wholesale offering, Spicers is a stable and reliable supplier partner, with exciting additions coming soon to its market-leading distribution platform. By tailoring our services to your needs, we can give you access to a comprehensive product portfolio, as well as the exclusivity of the 5 Star™ product brand
We’d love to tell you more about the benefits Spicers can offer – giving you more choice and flexibility across your supply chain.