Promises are easy to make, but hard to keep. The same is true for catchy slogans – they’re easy to give, but hard to live by.

If you are allowed to choose which vendors you source from, look deeper than the promises and slogans before trusting one with your business.

When selecting a hydraulic parts supplier, one who can be your “go-to” for any hydraulic part needs, there are at least 3 qualities to look for when making your selection.

Quality #1: Speed

For any vendor or supplier to be a “go-to,” we argue that speed is perhaps the most important quality of all. Here’s why.

MONEY. Time is money, therefore lead times are money. If your supplier–whether a remanufacturer, aftermarket reseller, or OE manufacturer– cannot ship same day from stock and has lead times longer than a few days, you (and, if you are a distributor, your customer) could be losing revenue.

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION. For distributors, too much customer interaction gobbles up time and can effect the customer’s satisfaction with your relationship. Every time you need to check quote or order status, track a shipment, or follow up with your customer ask for their patience, tiny cracks form in your relationship. A go-to vendor wouldn’t let that happen.

How can you tell if a supplier is fast? Look for these customer commitments:

  • Get quotes back to you in 30 minutes on average
  • Offer same-day shipments
  • Have an on-time shipment guarantee
  • Product gets to you or your customer quickly and reliably every time
  • Offers true blind drop shipment services

A robust inventory adds a second dimension of speed to your service.

Quality #2: Inventory Availability

If a supplier doesn’t have a product in stock, they may go the extra mile to find it for you. On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with that.

When your supplier calls on other hydraulics companies to source parts, however, it can impact two things: How fast you get your quote and your order, and the cost of the order.

Aim for a supplier who has thousands or even millions of parts in stock, or at minimum, has their own highly-efficient vendors for sourcing product. A highly-efficient vendor is one that can get your product to you just as quickly as your vendor can and for the cost you’d expect.

If you are a distributor looking for a remanufactured parts supplier, you’ll want one who can prove they have a robust surplus / core buy-back program which keeps inventory levels high. As a remanufacturer of hydraulic parts and assemblies, core surplus is the lifeblood of operations.

Quality #3: The Customer Service Team

All companies like to describe their team as “first class,” “responsive” and “dedicated.” These qualities don’t separate the wheat from the chaff anymore – they are the things we simply expect from customer service professionals.

When deciding on a go-to supplier, you’ll want to pay attention to these TRUE differentiators:

  • They have a direct line and answer the phone within 3 rings, and you aren’t sent into an automated answering system during business hours.
  • Most of their customer service personnel will have been at the company for 5+ years or in the industry for 10+ years.
  • Reviews about the company will reveal many people who have a history of positive experiences with the customer service team—bonus points if they identify their rep by name.
  • They will answer all of your questions. If they don’t have an answer, they will quickly find someone who does.
  • They are polite, professional, and demonstrate a true concern for you with every interaction. Even better, their actions align with their words, and you can sense their commitment to ethics and integrity in every interaction.

These are some of the bare-minimum qualities to expect from a company you can consider your “go-to” – the very best will go above and beyond those listed here. A few interactions will quickly reveal these qualities in a solid, trustworthy supplier – and alternatively, reveal the lack of the qualities in the ones you should avoid.