BEP 357 – English for Purchasing 3: Vendor Qualification

BEP 357 - Business English for Purchasing 3: Vendor Qualification

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for purchasing and qualifying vendors.

Whether you’re buying raw materials, equipment, or services, purchasing decisions are high stakes. Make a bad decision, and it’ll cost you time, money, and goodwill. Make the right decision, and you can increase your revenue, improve operations, and gain more customers.

Because purchasing decisions are so important, companies invest a lot of energy into the process of vendor selection. In previous lessons, we’ve looked at sourcing suppliers and discussing vendor criteria. Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you need and you’ve had some discussions with possible vendors, then you need to qualify them.

Basically, vendor qualification is about talking to a vendor to make sure they’re the right fit. And that’s best done during a visit to their facilities. Vendor qualification includes asking for documentation and getting samples, as proof of quality and a clean track record. As you talk, you may try to identify any inconsistencies between what you have heard and what you see. It’s also important to ensure comprehensive quality management and to probe for proof of consistency.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Adam, a purchasing manager who works for xFit, a company that makes fitness equipment. Adam has just taken a tour of a potential vendor’s factory. He’s talking with the manufacturer’s representative Jenny, and asking questions to see if her company is a good fit to supply parts for xFit’s exercise equipment.

Listening Questions

1. Why does Adam want product samples?
2. Why does Adam mention that he didn’t see the equipment or a set-up for the “powder coating” process?
3. What does Adam want Jenny to provide in order to show proof of consistency?

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