These days, finding a structural steel supplier for any job across the board is pretty much as easy as calling a cab. The reason being that regardless of the steel beam sizes, shapes or quantities thereof you’re looking for, you’ll find literally dozens of suppliers begging for your business with a single web search.
Of course, just because there are so many suppliers out there with the same kinds of products on hand doesn’t in any way mean they’re all identical. Quite to the contrary in fact as while there will always be those that strive for excellence and value for money day in and day out, others exist for their own gain and little to nothing else.
Which leads to the important question – how can you steer clear of the latter and make a beeline for the former?
Well, the simple answer is that it really just comes down to ticking a few important boxes when going about the selection process in the first place. It’s technically pretty easy to make sure you don’t find yourself lumped with a dud – the key being to be proactive about things and not to take anything for granted.
First of all, there’s much to be said about ‘buying British’ for the sake of the economy and what not, but at the same time there’s so much more to it than just doing the right thing for the country alone. The kinds of rules, regulations and laws that the UK’s manufacturing businesses have to follow are among the most abundant and indeed strict on the face of the Earth, which basically makes it very difficult to come across anything on home soil that isn’t up to par. You might make a saving by importing what you need from China, but only if you’re willing to let quality take a knock in the name of cost-cutting.
There’s a very big difference between a steel supplier that works a little like a web-based vending machine and another that makes it abundantly clear that this is their passion and professionalism. Ascertaining the difference is generally as easy as taking a look across the pages of their website in order to see how much information is on offer, what kinds of helpful resources they share and how dedicated they are to what they do. If you’re not convinced after looking over their online offerings, try elsewhere.
A Strong Portfolio
There are two types of steel suppliers in business today – those that tell you they’re awesome when put to the test and those that show you the awesome results of what they’ve helped make happen in the past. In this instance, what you’re looking for is a strong portfolio of work which should feature a few inspiring case studies that demonstrate not only what they can do, but what they have done in the past. This is one of the most important prerequisites of all and yet gets overlooked on a quite astonishingly frequent basis.
Something else to be on the lookout for is any evidence of strong customer focus and a passion for customer care. The reason being that it’s one thing to offer great products, but it’s only ever a matter of time until any client in any business area needs to ask a question, resolve complaints or perhaps request something out of the ordinary. It’s surprising just how fast a large-scale project can grind to a halt when there’s insufficient customer care being offered by any given supplier, so be sure to check for evidence that this is not an area in which they fall short – you might regret it later.
Some would argue that it’s not the be all and end all, but at the same time there’s much to be said for the peace of mind that comes with working with a steel supplier with a long and illustrious history in the business. The longer they’ve been doing what they do, the longer they’ve had to perfect their art – a rule of thumb that more often than not turns out to hold pretty true.
Last but not least, perhaps the single most reassuring thing that can possibly be offered by any steel supplier across the board is the outright guarantee that if you’re not happy for any reason at all, you’ll either get your money back or a replacement. There’s really no excuse for not offering these kinds of guarantees these days, so be sure to look out for them.