Choosing the right vendor to complete a one-time project or a scheduled maintenance plan can be a daunting task. Going with the first provider you find, or your mechanic’s second cousin, without investigation can be damaging to your business and reputation.
In order to choose the right vendor, first things first: define your goal(s). These are not going to be your average “new year” goals, but specific measurable goals that you will be evaluating continually. What is the scope of work you need to have done? How will you evaluate the success? The most important part of this step is being realistic and honest, with both yourself and your teammates. The second most important? Establishing an obtainable timeline!
Establish the timeline for the project that serves the needs of your business, the project and your future vendor. When will you do a request for proposals? When will you make your decision? When do you plan to implement or start the project? Again, be as specific as possible. The timeline for vendors is necessary, too. How long should the bidding process take? The decision process? The project itself? Remember that the vendors are trying to run a business, too. They need to set goals with a timeline in order to meet your project’s scope of work.
After setting your goals and establishing the timeframe you will work within, decide who will make the vendor selection. We suggest using a small team to make a recommended selection to the president, owner or CEO of your company. Members of the team are able to do research on all possible vendors that one person may not have time to do. That leads to the next step, the qualifying.
Start by making your request for proposals and follow with the qualification process on vendors who apply. You can begin with the list to the right and then take a few more steps with those who you might be comfortable working with. We also suggest calling the vendor’s customer service department and ask questions. Are they professional and courteous?