Facility Planning: Picking Your Vendors
At any stage of facility planning, picking the right vendors is important. Whether you have just opened, or are planning to open your first sports complex, or already own multiple locations and are in the facility planning stages of a new one, you need to think about your suppliers. Sports Facility Management has some advice on picking the right vendor for your needs.
Plan What You Need
Whatever the reason may be for your current facility planning, it is prescient to think hard about what you need from a vendor or supplier. Look at all of the services you are planning to offer, or already offer at different locations, and consider what you need from an outside vendor to keep them stocked.
Whether food, equipment, or other supplies, draw up a detailed list of exactly what you need before you begin shopping for an actual vendor. This is also an ideal time to map out your budget and what you can, or are willing to spend.
Once you know exactly what you need, and have an idea of what you can afford, the next step in this facility planning process is to research your options. But, in searching for a vendor, what do you need to be looking for?
Good quality is vital to providing a service to your community. While many of your customers will be using your sports complex for its available sports facilities, they can also use it for additional services like places to eat, vending machines or, for broader recreational centers, arcades, and even bars. The options for what you can offer your users are limitless with the right budget and enough imagination.
But, if you are offering food or additional entertainment, you need to make sure the quality keeps people coming back. This means that you need to find vendors and suppliers that can guarantee consistent, reliable quality in their products. Research your vendor options thoroughly, and carefully consider reviews or feedback from their customers. You should also consider broader elements like packaging, labeling, dates on food products and other, detailed information.
Where Are They Based?
In addition to quality products, you should also think about the location of your supplier, particularly when it comes to the potential speed of deliveries and ease of contact. In some cases, having to use a larger, non-locally based supplier is unavoidable, but Sports Facilities Management recommends using local vendors whenever possible. You might end up paying slightly more in some cases through using local suppliers, but you will often have an easier time with deliveries, and getting in touch with them quickly.
Communication throughout all stages of facility planning and management is vital, and this is true of communicating with your vendors, too. If orders cannot be fulfilled for any reason, being able to get in touch or even visit your supplier can make thing much easier.
Good Customer Service
Speaking of communication, customer service is as important to you as a customer of a vendor as it is the owner of a sports complex or recreation center. Poor customer service—whether it is lack of communication, an unwillingness to work with a customer, limited stock, consistently late delivery times—is off-putting for everyone.
You need to avoid signing up with a vendor who cannot fulfill orders consistently, is unable to work on your terms, or is unwilling or unable to answer questions. After researching reviews, talk to potential vendors to get an idea of how you could work with them.