Delivering Value Through Your Vendors

As your business takes on new initiatives, it’s important to carefully vet any vendors you partner with to ensure a successful collaboration and long-term relationship. But how do you know if a new vendor can meet your expectations? Here are a few questions to ask that can help determine if a vendor is capable of delivering on their promises.

Experience and Expertise

Does the vendor have a proven track record of success with similar companies and projects? How long have they been in business, and do they have relevant case studies you can review? Seek out vendors with direct industry experience and well-established expertise in your specific needs. Then do the legwork to ask and call on references, and be specific about understanding their pros and cons.

Compatibility of Values

Your vendors reflect on your business, so their values should align with yours. How do they treat clients and employees? Are their business practices transparent and ethical? There’s a belief in business that a company’s performance, and how they handle the day to day is a reflection of who is in charge. We agree, and consider integrity, authenticity and collaboration to be our core values when partnering with clients.

Team Capabilities

Get to know the team members you’ll be working with directly. What are their qualifications for the job? What hard and soft skills do they have to handle something new? Do they have a growth mindset, or just want to do things the same way? Do they identify problems, create plans, and execute reliably? Should anything go wrong, they’re a crucial part of the fix. A track record of hiring and retaining good talent is important to manage complex, long-term projects.

Realistic Timelines

Be skeptical of any vendor promising impossible deadlines. Be upfront about working collaboratively to set achievable schedules. Create buffer time and guardrails to limit any potential issues. Unforeseen issues do arise, and people are human, so find a partner committed to flexibility when needed.

Processes and Measurable Results

What key metrics will determine project success? Is there a process to back up what is known and identify gaps, or are you relying on trial and error, and worse, tribal knowledge? Is there a contingency plan just in case something falls through the cracks? A good vendor should have proven methods for processes, to prevent future issues. Request proof and updates to this as items come up.

While some vendors may cost more upfront, their experience delivering value through innovative, results-driven solutions and great customer service will save you time and money in the long run.


Jeff Lo is owner and president of TGS Elevate, a certified Minority Owned Company (MBE) that does the work of seven separate vendors – encompassing 2D and 3D design, printing, fabrication, project management, logistics and sourcing – to save clients time and money. TGSE’s minority ownership in printers and fabricators across the country allows control of lead time and pricing. This lower overhead cost gives us the flexibility to find the right production facility and supply chain for your project and gives you one point of contact, from design to installation.

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