To simplify the process, focus your search on these five key areas to select a supplier that is the best match for your unique needs.
1.) Coverage is typically the first element that is evaluated when comparing various supply options. Depending on the size and location of your business, you may require multiple suppliers to serve your locations or may need a supplier that is flexible enough to grow with you as you expand. Whatever your needs may be, ensure your chosen supplier fits the bill now and in the future.
2.) Billing Accuracy is an impactful, often overlooked, aspect of selecting a new supplier. Be sure to ask your contending suppliers how they ensure billing accuracy and to provide information about the process for making corrections when needed. Your Accounts Payable team will thank you and you’ll thank yourself when you avoid their disapproving looks at the water cooler.
3.) Reliability is a critical element to evaluate in your new supply source. Ask for references of clients in your industry that can vouch for the dependability of the service level that the supplier is offering. A strong client list is also a good sign of reliability. You know what they say, if everyone else is doing it.. why aren’t you?
4.) Accessibility. When the going gets tough, who will be there to answer the phone and deliver that last minute emergency order? What about after hours needs? Will you place your orders online, via phone, fax, or through an electronic integration like EDI or CXML? Also, be sure to ask about your day-to-day point of contact. Even if you’re using a national supplier, you may have multiple contacts for each of your locations.
5.) Cost is clearly very important in selecting your new supply source, but don’t get caught up in the unit cost comparison game. In fact, unit cost is typically less than half of the true cost of a gas program. Be sure to consider all of the components of your program by also evaluating delivery rates, ancillary fees, rental charges, and most importantly, the amount of your time that will be required to make the new program a success.