The magazine gets a lot of feedback about what it writes and publishes. Most of the time, people are complimentary. Some of the time, they are critical. But it is always constructive to get feedback.

I have been working with Industrial Paint & Powder for 21 months now, and it has been quite an experience. We get a lot of feedback about what we write and publish. Most of the time, people are complimentary. Some of the time, they are critical. But it is always constructive to get feedback. For one thing, it tells us that people are reading the magazine. It also helps us do our jobs better and focus on high quality content. Of course it also reinforces the old axiom that you cannot please all the people, all the time. However, it is always our goal to do just that, please everyone all the time. My motto is to strive for perfection but settle for excellence.

After last month's issue, we received an e-mail from a powder coater who had some additional information he thought would be important to share with someone who was trying to decide between two sources for powder coating materials. His comments were valid, so I thought that I would share them with you. These ideas will also work for many buying decisions.

They construct a team that includes members from engineering, purchasing, and technicians who run the line, and they evaluate past performance, cost, reliability, proximity of the delivery point, and a backup plan for supply. The backup plan would include things like extra, already approved batches of powder on hand, or another plant to produce the product if something were to happen (a fire for example).

A list of questions that addresses these issues is created and the responses are evaluated. The team rates the prospective supplier based on its answers. It is a fair way to compare the virtues of the different vendors, and it helps remove subjectivity from the selection process. Taken together with an analysis of applied cost, the evaluation of the supplier's capabilities and commitment to excellence can help a company decide whom to work with.

This is in sharp contrast to some companies that no longer value relationships and methods of doing business but rely solely on "lowest-price" purchasing. The lowest unit price is seldom the best way to evaluate the overall cost of doing business. Real value is measured over time by overall cost of production, customer satisfaction and productivity. Stable and reliable suppliers who deliver consistent quality on time, at a fair price, play a big role in profitability.

Having helped many companies with purchase decisions, I can tell you that there are a lot of misconceptions about what to do to get the right product at the lowest possible price. The company that you purchase from is a key factor in the success of your business. Take the time to evaluate how they do business and how happy their existing customers are before you commit based on unit price. Make sure the supplier knows your individual needs and is prepared to meet them. There is nothing wrong with negotiating a fair price as long as the supplier can give you the product and service you need on a consistent basis.

Thanks very much for your comments Dave (Dave Mitchell, Trendway Corp.). We are glad to share them with others and hope that they can apply them to their decision-making efforts.