Choosing the right Yacht Delivery Company involves much more than scanning a series of price quotes. Your choice will depend on a wide range of factors such as value for money, quality, reliability and service. How you weigh up the importance of these different factors will be based on your business’ priorities and strategy.
A strategic approach to choosing suppliers can also help you to understand how your own potential customers weigh up their purchasing decisions.
This guide illustrates a step-by-step approach you can follow that should help you make the right choices. It will help you decide what you need in a Delivery Company, identify potential suppliers and make the right choice.
THINKING STRATEGICALLY WHEN SELECTING A YACHT DELIVERY COMPANY
The most effective companies are those who offer products or services that match – or exceed – the needs of your business. So when you are looking for suppliers, it’s best to be sure of your business needs and what you want to achieve, rather than simply paying for what suppliers want to sell you.
For example, if you want to keep your customers or charter base managers appraised on the progress of the delivery, suppliers that offer you live satellite tracking will rate higher than those that compete on price alone.
The numbers game
It’s well worth examining how many delivery companies you really need. Contracting with one carefully targeted company could have a number of benefits:
- it will be easier to control your communications
- your business will become more important to them
- you may be able to make deals that give you an extra competitive advantage
For example, if you’ve got a rush job for an important customer, your delivery company will be more likely to go the extra mile.
Equally, while exclusivity may spur some suppliers to offer you a better service, others may simply become complacent and drop their standards.
WHAT YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR IN A SUPPLIER
Remember – if they let you down, you may let your customer down.
The quality of your supplies needs to be consistent – your customers associate poor quality with you, not your suppliers. Look for a Delivery Company that has written Operating Procedures to ensure a consistent high level of service and have reached a recognised management standard e.g. ISO9001
Value for money
The lowest price is not always the best value for money. If you want reliability and quality from your Delivery Company, you’ll have to decide how much you’re willing to pay for your supplies and the balance you want to strike between cost, reliability, quality and service.
Strong service and clear communication
You need your suppliers to deliver on time, or to be honest and give you plenty of warning if they can’t. The best suppliers will want to talk with you regularly to find out what needs you have and how they can serve you better.
It’s always worth making sure your supplier has sufficiently strong cash flow to deliver what you want, when you need it. The Delivery Company should be happy to accept terms that mean you do not pay 100% up front
A partnership approach
A strong relationship will benefit both sides. You want your supplier to acknowledge how important your business is to them, so they make every effort to provide the best service possible. And you’re more likely to create this response by showing your supplier how important they are to your business.
IDENTIFYING POTENTIAL SUPPLIERS
You can find suppliers through a variety of channels. It’s best to build up a shortlist of possible suppliers through a combination of sources to give you a broader base to choose from. Directories, Google, Trade Associations, Trade Press can all be a good source, but there is nothing better than talking to others that have used their services.
Ask for recommendations. Follow up references from the company’s recent clients. References that are more than a year old have limited value. You’re more likely to get an honest assessment of a business’ strengths and weaknesses from someone who has used its services. Talk to other dealers that offer the same brands as you. Does the Delivery Company know your products?
DRAWING UP A SHORTLIST OF SUPPLIERS
Once you’ve got a clear idea of what your priorities are and you’ve identified some potential suppliers, you can build a shortlist of sources that meet your needs.
When considering the firms on your shortlist, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can these suppliers deliver what you want, when you want it?
- Are they financially secure?
- How long have they been established?
- Do you know anyone who has used them and can recommend them?
- Do they have the experienced and qualified Captains, crew and management?
Do some research and try to slim your list down to no more than three candidates. It’s a waste of time for you and the potential supplier if you approach them when there’s little chance of them fulfilling your requirements.
CHOOSING A SUPPLIER
Once you have a manageable shortlist, you can approach the Delivery Company and ask for a written quotation. It’s best to provide them with a clear brief summarising what you require, how frequently you’ll require it and what level of business you hope to place.
Get a quotation
It’s worth asking the potential Delivery Company to give you a firm price in writing for, say, six months. You can also ask about discounts for long-term or high-volume contracts.
Compare potential suppliers
When you’ve got the quotation, compare the potential suppliers in terms of what matters most to you. For example, their knowledge of Atlantic crossing with catamarans or protection of the interior may be most important, while their location may not matter.
Price is important, but it shouldn’t be the only reason you choose a yacht Delivery Company. Lower prices may reflect poorer quality goods and services which, in the long run, may not be the most cost effective option. Be confident that your supplier can make a sufficient margin at the price quoted for the business to be commercially viable. You want to aim for a long term relationship in which you can both prosper.
Check that the Delivery Company you contract is the one that will be doing the work. Some companies may outsource work to subcontractors, in which case you should also investigate the subcontractor to determine if you are happy with this arrangement.
Wherever possible it is always a good idea to meet a potential supplier face to face and see how their business operates. Emails and telephone calls are fine but nothing beats actually meeting the person from the Company you will be dealing with. Do they attend the same boat shows as you? Understanding how your supplier works will give you a better sense of how it can benefit your business.
And remember that your business’ reputation may be judged on the labour practices of your suppliers. It makes good business sense to consider the ethical dimensions of your supply chain.
Negotiate terms and conditions
Once you’ve settled on the suppliers you’d like to work with, you can move on to negotiating terms and conditions and drawing up a contract.
GETTING THE RIGHT DELIVERY COMPANY FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Know your needs
Make sure you know what you need. Don’t be tempted by sales pitches that don’t match your requirements.
Spend time on research
Choosing the right suppliers is essential for your business. Don’t try to save time by buying from the first supplier you find that may be suitable. Talk to them, ask questions, do they know their business and can they deliver on quality and service?
People or other businesses with first-hand experience of the Delivery Company is essential and can give you useful advice.
Price isn’t everything
Other factors are equally important when choosing a supplier – reliability and quality, for example. If you buy cheaply but persistently let down your customers as a result, they’ll start to look elsewhere.
Agree on service levels before you start
It’s a good idea to agree on service levels before you start trading so you know what to expect from your Delivery Company. What is included and what is not in the service.
Don’t buy from too many suppliers…
It will be easier for you to manage – and probably more cost-effective if were able to keep to one delivery company. If you change the Delivery Company for each boat you limit the efficiency of a good working relationship that can build over the years.
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