How to Choose a Chemical Supplier in South Africa
Buying the best chemicals for your business can be a daunting and bewildering experience. How do you know you are sourcing what you need from a reputable, credible company?
The South African chemicals industry accounts for about 25% of the country’s manufacturing sales and is the most developed in Africa. In addition, the industry grew at an annual rate of 3,7% from 2001 to 2014, indicating an ever-increasing choice of suppliers in a specialised and technology-driven market.
There are several factors to consider when selecting the best chemical supplier for your business in South Africa.
What you need to know when choosing a Chemical Supplier
Know your own business needs
What exactly are the chemicals you need for your company’s manufacturing processes? How often and what quantities of the chemicals are required and how will its pricing, presentation, and packaging fit in with your needs? You might also have special requirements like minimum and maximum orders, preferred methods to pay, how to handle returns, guarantees, and agreed times to fix errors and problems.
When a chemical supplier understands the production and capacity demands of your company and the chemical industry itself, it can source the best products and innovative new options that will suit your business utmost.
An accountable supplier takes responsibility for its products, service delivery and addresses queries and problems with speed, professionalism, and efficiency. They can only do this if they know and have confidence in their products, supply-chain set-up, service delivery systems, staff, and management.
A reputable chemical supplier will be at pains to be credible, dependable, and trustworthy, in all of its performances and functions and do this over and over again. It may be worthwhile to check the extent of their market presence, the strength of their industry reputation, as well as customer and stakeholder testimonials. In addition, you may want to look at the history of the company and how long it has been in existence.
Delivery policy, statistics, and lead times
You may want to ask the chemical supplier for its lead time projections and compare that to their on-time delivery rates. This will give an indication of its tracking and record-keeping capacity and processes.
When accessibility of the product and skill support is key to your needs, you would want to consider how reachable and available your chemical supplier is to your location. A company like the family-owned Chemi set up shop in Johannesburg to service a variety of customers that conduct business locally and in the bigger Southern African region.
Adequate supply capacity
Once you know the quantities of all the chemicals required for your production process, it is essential to choose a supplier that will be reliable and consistent. You need to have these reassurances to ensure your own customer demands are met and when and how you can increase your own production capacity as you grow.
Knowledge par excellence
A reputable chemical supplier will be meticulous and absolutely accurate and conscientious with its knowledge management. Knowledge of source, supply chain options, product performance and application, industry developments, technological advancements, safety standards, regulations, and development is key to ensuring excellent service delivery and ongoing quality assurances.
Staff serving customers in the chemical industry need to know the products and specifications that underpin the industry and its operations. They also need to communicate their knowledge effectively and can grasp their customer queries, questions, and concerns.
A credible supplier will keep painstaking records that are always up to date and are easily accessed to underline swift communication and feedback. A trustworthy chemical supplier will pride itself on thorough and precise access to information like insurance certificates, health and safety protocols, environmental policy, financial performance, research and development history, and training programmes.
Complex and often demanding regulatory environment
Reputable chemical suppliers make sure they know the laws, regulations, and standards that apply in the countries and industries they operate in. This is not an easy framework to master but is foundational for the reputation and trustworthiness of any reputable chemical supply company.
Flexible and driven by a need for synergy and cooperation
When your chemical supplier takes the time and energy to understand the needs and demands of your business you can invest in a win-win partnership that will stand the test of time.
Adapting to global trends and innovative development
Is your chemical supplier aware and adequately informed of the latest trends, developments, and innovations that can impact your business? Can it provide context with regard to demand projections, sustainability, environmental changes, and a fast-paced, dynamic, and sometimes uncertain global economic playing field?
Choosing a reputable chemical supplier in South Africa requires due diligence and careful consideration to find the partner that matches your unique needs and interests.