Today we hear more and more about the global economy. The world is shrinking, jobs are being outsourced overseas, and purchasing managers deal with international markets to find the best deal on procuring finished goods and raw products for their company. But in all the excitement about the global economy don’t forget about the local options. In many cases, you will find that buying local has many benefits that far outweigh just buying for price overseas and can even be better priced right here locally.
Local sourcing is trending with greater interest in supporting your own community, but if there is a significant price difference that feeling of support will vanish. Finding cost-effective local sourcing can give you some variety in your product line-up and greater agility. Changes in the market necessitate supply chain adjustments. When sourcing overseas those adjustments are slower to take effect when dealing with high volume producers and shipments often by boat. Local vendors can make adjustments more quickly and as such are more agile.
By utilizing locally produced goods you can broaden your product lineup while simultaneously build closer relationships with your customers. There is a sense of pride when you go to the store and buy goods and products from people you know or from companies you see in your own backyard. This doesn’t even mention the good PR generated from supporting the community around your business demonstrating a desire to invest and build those around you.
Companies should find a way to partner with local suppliers when possible. It may take some creative thinking. As an example, consider the cost of ordering locally produces foods packages in jars or baskets or something that may typically be recycled by your company. Instead of following traditional recycling processes and then rebuying new jars/baskets/widgets for packaging whatever food product you source, provide those recyclable items back to your local source to allow them to use. This serves the same purpose for you to recycle and then also works to lower your cost with the local vendor by supplying your own packaging. This is just one example of a partnership. Start tossing around some ideas and see if you can come up with a creative partnership to be able to start using local suppliers for some of your needs.
No matter how big your business is, don’t overlook the power of bartering. Bartering is often used with small companies or those with smaller budgets, but even larger businesses can find benefit. It could be that a waste product from your business is a valuable commodity to another business. One example of this is a kitchen or restaurant that would have to find an environmentally safe way to dispose of the oil from the kitchen. This could be provided to local farmers to use in bio-diesel fuel in exchange for locally produced fresh ingredients used in the kitchen.
Finally, looking at the personal connection can also be a tremendous asset. Having the ability to meet your supplier face to face provides a greater opportunity for personal connection and relationship building. When you truly know someone, face to face, and they are not just a voice on the other end of the phone half way around the world, then that personal touch comes into play in business. When your business has a crisis or needs a sudden order by a surprise deadline, when you have a personal relationship with your supplier you can call and ask for the favor that they will probably do. Try doing that to a faceless person around the world and you may get a simple “I’m sorry, that’s not possible.”
As you can see, there are many benefits to sourcing locally. Even if you looked and ruled out local suppliers, take another look, think creatively, and see if sourcing locally can now work better for your business.
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