Your Supplier and Risk Management Strategy
Risk management is a critical aspect of ensuring the long-term health of any business, no matter its size. Accidents and disruptions to “business as usual” can and do happen.
If you aren’t ready to effectively handle such occurrences, it could mean the end of your company. Paying the cost of safety and risk mitigation is always less expensive than paying the cost of being unprepared in a disaster.
Developing a risk management strategy has four primary phases: identification, assessment, implementation, and maintenance. Identification involves looking very closely at anything that could be a hazard, internally and externally. This includes all physical safety hazards and hazards to your bottom line.
Assessment requires you to figure out how to handle the risks you’ve identified. Then it’s time to implement the plan you’ve developed to handle all our your risks. This plan will change over time, and even throughout the year, so maintenance, the final phase, is crucial. This is a living plan.
The Connection Between Supplier and Risk Management
One very important aspect of your business to consider—among the many you’ll tackle—when creating your risk management plan, is your suppliers. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be looking specifically at your equipment supplier, but these considerations could apply to any supplier.
When assessing risk and your equipment supplier, there are two primary factors to consider: Will your supplier help mitigate your risk? Do they focus on safety?
Your suppliers are an integral part of your business. They can be the difference between your business running smoothly and disastrous disruptions. For instance, if they don’t deliver product you need, it could slow production or even bring work to a halt.
You want to find a company you can rely on. Unreliable suppliers or suppliers whose policies don’t mesh well with what you need will pose a risk to the health of your business.
Obviously, you want to find a supplier that sources the quality and type of equipment you are seeking. But do they also have equipment you may need in the future? Think long-term.
The trap that most companies fall into is looking only at price when choosing a supplier. It’s important to take a step back and recognize that savings can be quickly erased if your supplier does a poor job or you can’t work well with them.
So to start, do your research. Get references and investigate prospective suppliers thoroughly.
Beyond being reliable and having a good track record with other businesses, some other factors to consider are:
- Will the supplier be able to accommodate larger and smaller orders as needed? Will they be able to accommodate your projected growth?
- What are the return policies?
- Is customer service easy to access, personable, and well informed?
- What are the shipping policies?
- Do they provide comprehensive product details?
- Do they provide inventory information, so you can see what products they have on hand?
Additionally, find out about the supplier’s own safety record. Worker safety is a key indicator of a business’s health and longevity. Safe employees are more efficient, more productive, and more loyal. They’re also nicer to deal with. Safe work environments attract better workers. These are all attributes you want from a company you will be working with closely.
A supplier can make or break your business, so find one with whom you can develop a strong relationship with that will last for years.
Focus on Safety
It is likely you’ll need quality safety equipment, so make sure that the supplier you choose has the variety you want. Do they source the best safety equipment available? For instance, do they supply the safest safety knife, the best quality eye protection, or a wide variety of gloves with different cut-resistance levels?
You’re putting your trust in your supplier to do the research for you, so you want to be certain that they’ve earned that trust.
Employees are more likely to wear PPE that looks good and fits well. Does your supplier stock wearables for a smaller frame or a woman’s build? Do they have options that look good?
Some suppliers also offer safety instruction or assistance. This may not be a critical factor when seeking a supplier, but it does show that they value safety, and it’s one other service you won’t have to seek elsewhere.
Take the Time; Do It Right
The relationship you develop with your supplier will have a strong impact on your business. Your supplier factors into your risk management in two important ways: Can they contribute to reducing risk by delivering what you need when you need it? And do they have a focus on safety that strengthens your company’s commitment to creating a safe working environment?
Take the time to ensure that the equipment supply company you chose reduces risk and supports your aim to create and maintain a healthy, safe, long-lasting business.
Author Bio: TJ Scimone founded Slice, Inc. in 2008. He works with world-class designers to design a full line of safer cutting tools. Every tool is ergonomic and features Slice’s proprietary finger-friendly® blade design. Slice is committed to workplace safety, and shares information about the subject through a weekly Workplace Safety Blog.
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