Selecting the right supplier for your business needs will allow you to deliver your products and services on time, at the right price, and in compliance with your quality standards. First and foremost, you need to know what type of supplier you want to work with. Having a clear direction will help in your research so that you’re able to find the right supplier. But, that’s often easier said than done.

So, how can you determine which type of supplier is ideal for your business needs – whether you should work with an online supplier or a third party supplier? Here, we’ll compare the two to help you better weigh your options. Let’s dig in.

Online suppliers, like Alibaba, are a popular route. Factories can pay to be listed on a supplier website in order to reach the masses. This can help to get the factory name out there, but that’s not a guarantee that the factory is one that would meet your needs. There is little in the way of previous customer feedback, quality or social auditing, or any verification of the advertising factory’s capabilities. Online suppliers can get factories exposure, but they don’t offer next-level support.

Third party suppliers, on the other hand, offer the ability to provide validation. They focus on finding factories that are the right match in making what the buyer wants. Ensuring that the buyer gets exactly what they’ve specified in the order is the key focus of third party suppliers.

The key differences are clear, but just keep in mind that you should select a supplier that can support your business requirements by delivering the goods and services you need on time and within budget. This will help you improve productivity and the quality of your products.

If you find a supplier by listing your factory on a supplier site, this is an easy solution, but remember that you won’t get much in the way of support. If you want to receive feedback and have your factory audited, it’s in your best interest to work with a third party supplier. They will help you uphold quality throughout the process, beyond just finding a factory to produce your order.

Want more tips for successful business relationships? Learn how to define “sourcing agent” and understand what constitutes a good one in our free white paper!

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