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Top 5 Qualities to Look for in a Vendor

Cultivating productive business relationships can be a huge part of your print shop's success.

Big Picture

Kim Howell, CEO of Tiny Mammoth Graphics (Des Moines, Iowa) has seen it all when it comes to vendor relationships, from small hiccups to major frustrations to incredible successes. Here, she outlines the makings of her ideal supplier.

1. Knowledge of Market Trends It's important to know exactly what the trends are and what my shop’s competitors are offering. I want to know where they’re seeing successes. And, new printing techniques and installation tips are always highly valuable.

2. Trust It's hard to know who to trust sometimes, especially when you've been burned. One vendor referred us to a colleague, a trade printer who gave us a speech about the importance of trust – and then called our client five minutes after the meeting. It was a direct reflection of the vendor referral. If I can't trust them to protect my business, it doesn't feel like they have my shop’s best interests at heart.

3. Problem Solving We all make mistakes. The biggest trait we look for is how our vendors work to fix something if a mistake is made – on our part or theirs. A vendor who is solution-focused can help us figure out how to make it better.

4. Preparation I want to hear about new products that pertain to my business. A vendor who does their homework before we meet saves us all time. We also love samples (that we can keep) with specs and a print profile included.

5. Connects with Employees My staff’s opinions of products are important to me. Not only do they do most of the ordering, but they are the ones that have to work with the product and install it. A vendor should address any issues and have their buy-in before they walk out the door.

Check out great wall graphics from Tiny Mammoth or explore the rest of our September 2016 "Outstanding Out-of-Home" issue.

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