A common question many entrepreneurs have is: what is the process to successfully access corporate supply and delivery chains.
A big corporate client holds multiple benefits for an SME, not to mention a major boost to a company’s revenue.
Other than ensuring that your house is in order – to work with many corporates your business needs to meet compliance obligations and adhere to the requirement of your particular sector. This includes being registered and tax- and labour law compliance.
If you have a manufacturing business, do you have a manufacturing licence? Does your product require SABS/SANS certification? Have you complied with health and safety regulations, and municipal by laws governing noise levels and hygiene?
If all that is in order, how do you make that initial contact? Typically, your main point of contact would be with a corporate’s procurement officer – this the individual responsible for the purchasing of goods and services and implementing the company’s procurement policy which will include accessing quality black suppliers.
Vivian Reddy, head of the access business unit for Edge Growth, an ESD specialist firm offers the following steps for presenting your business and yourself to procurement officers.
1. Indicate whether your business is a SME;
2. State the products and services you offer;
3. State whether you are black-owned;
4. Enquire about how the corporate sources the specific commodity, for example, is there long term contract, one or many suppliers.
5. Ask if you can send your company profile and to whom.
6. Enquire how to register as a vendor.
7. Once registered as a vendor, a SME should call periodically (once every few months) to follow up when a RFQ will be sent out. Request for Quotation (RFQ) – an RFQ is generally used to obtain pricing, delivery information, terms and conditions from suppliers.