‘Showcasing the success, innovation and developments in the Fencing, Gate and Wire Industries’
In our business we talk often about the three main groups of people that drive the business; customers, staff and suppliers.
I thought today I would just focus on suppliers. This seems to be coming up a lot at the moment because of the price fluctuations in metal, timber, components, paint products, and especially in wire. 15 years ago a prospective customer said something to me that I will never forget; “we really like dealing with the people that we like dealing with”. This sentence transcends price, service, or timeframe. Often people want to deal with you simply because of who you are and what you stand for. How you serve them, what product you can give them, the prices you charge are all incredibly important but sometimes it’s just about you. Have you ever had a customer ask you to source something that is not really in your realm simply because they know you and trust you?
As prices have escalated over the last 12 months I’ve been increasingly aware of my suppliers that I can trust to help maintain supply and keep price fluctuations under control as opposed to those suppliers who I feel are taking advantage of the volatile market and what they may deem a long term customer who has little alternative.
I had a run-in with one of our suppliers recently. It started over price but I came to realise very quickly that there are a few places I can get this product so whatever the price is I really can’t complain. They have a niche product in a restricted market where there is little choice as to where else I could get it. The price is set by market forces and the supplier and will be what it will be. We have many other suppliers, some that could also use their unique supply relationship to push price increases in the current marketplace, but because our relationship is so sound and built on trust, friendship and time, I would always expect that they are treating my business fairly. The interesting thing was that I realised through the price negotiation that this supplier is working under a different set of morals to me. The ethics in our respective businesses don’t align, and subsequently the supplier relationship has become strained. I still need to buy the product as I have customers that require it, however due to the nature of this supplier relationship I will always be looking for an alternative means of supply and my point is that apart from price “I just want to deal with the people that I like to deal with”. As an association we are related by one inanimate thing, Wire. It is the wire that links us, however it’s the people that keep us involved, and keep us interested