Choosing A Safety Equipment Vendor? 5 Questions To Ask

safety-equipment-vendorWhen you’re planning to purchase safety equipment, it’s important to look beyond the equipment and consider the quality of the vendor. Some just sell you the gangways or fall protection equipment you asked for and call it a day – and that’s fine. But when you’re making a significant investment in safety equipment, you get the best results by choosing a vendor who partners with you in a relationship that goes far beyond the initial sale.

Here are five questions to help you find a great vendor partnership:

Question #1: Are You Able To Design Equipment To Accommodate Our Business?
Whether you’re loading grain into hopper cars or unloading chemicals from tank trucks, every company has specific needs and faces specific challenges. A vendor who takes a one-size-fits-all approach likely won’t be able to meet your requirements and expectations. Instead, look for a vendor who tailors safety equipment to your unique business needs after assessing your current equipment and getting to know your company’s setup, processes and patterns.

Question #2: How Would You Learn Our Business Processes?
New equipment alone probably isn’t enough to solve your safety issues. You need to make sure these tools are a good match for your needs and determine how well they integrate with your larger business. Instead of focusing on equipment, look for a vendor who offers safety solutions.

Ask a potential vendor or consultant how they plan to “learn” your business. How far will they go to understand your situation and your process, along with your goals as a business? A great vendor invests the necessary time to dig into your operations, workflows and parameters, and then uses those insights to design a customized solution that helps you achieve your goals.

Question #3: Do You Specialize In My Industry?
The goal of this question is to assess the vendor’s expertise and ability within your industry and organization type. Does the vendor have experience in providing the equipment and services you need? Such industry expertise and confidence could save you time and money down the road by helping to ensure that your safety equipment meets industry guidelines and regulations.

Question #4: What Value Would You Bring To Our Business As A Vendor?
After the sale is complete, a great vendor follows through with customer service to make sure the safety solution is working properly and to your satisfaction. If you have an issue or concern, the vendor should do whatever it takes to resolve the situation. That resolution could be as simple as a phone call to answer questions, or could involve sending new parts and field service personnel to your work site.

Question #5: How Would You Help Me Meet My Project Schedules Or Timeline? 
In order to keep your project on schedule, both you and the vendor must maintain open communication about what the timeline involves and how you share responsibilities. As the client, your job is to clearly communicate the project goals upfront, but also to keep the vendor apprised of any major changes that affect the timeline, such as moving operations to a new location.

The vendor, in turn, is responsible for building the equipment on the agreed schedule, which means they must manage their shop’s capacity and the ordering of any components from other suppliers. For example, the vendor is responsible for making sure any outside components that arrive late do not put the entire project behind schedule.

Asking these five questions when talking with potential vendors should help you choose a great business partner as well as quality safety equipment. For your safety solution to succeed in the long term, you need a vendor who takes time to understand your needs and looks beyond the initial sale to build a strong business relationship.

Ready to find out how improving employee safety also drives efficiency and productivity? Download this industry guide from Carbis Solutions to discover strategies for a safer, more efficient workplace.

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