Breaking into an OEM supply chain is an almost impossible task for an SME. Or is it? Having the right know-how, connections and business proposal can increase your chances dramatically.
Let’s start at the beginning as we guide you through the process of becoming a supplier to an OEM.
Research and research again
It’s estimated that most suppliers conduct six months’ worth of research to find the right buyer. Start your research early, identify which companies will be the right fit for you and your products.
Try and gather as much information as possible on what opportunities a prospective buyer can provide, what their procurement methods entail and how they source their suppliers.
A SWOT analysis can be a useful tool to assess the suitability of a potential buyer.
Establishing the right connection
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. People buy from people. Customers choose people they trust, not people they like.
Whatever your idiom of choice, the importance of relationship building can’t be denied.
Start networking with procurement professionals in larger companies, learn who is in charge and has the actual authority to say yes. Once you have a contact you can start to develop a relationship either in person or via social channels such as LinkedIn.
Know your portfolio inside and out, from costs and quantities to applications and tolerances. Better to anticipate the questions you’ll be asked beforehand than to figure them out during your sales pitch. Make a list of the USP’s which make your products stand out from your competitors, and include the added value your goods can provide.
Once you’ve done your research and identified suitable contacts, it’s time to prepare your business case and set up a meeting.
A memorable proposal won’t just provide key information on your company, products and prices, it will be carefully planned, well executed and clearly communicated.
Some companies may give you an answer in days, others in weeks or even months. Ensure you follow up the meeting with regular communication and make sure your potential buyer doesn’t have any unanswered questions delaying their decision making process.
If the answer is a no, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback to better inform and refine future pitches.