The Merriam Webster dictionary defines a vendor as “one that vends; seller.” In the engineering consultant world, we identify a vendor as a person or company offering something up for sale, such as services or products. A vendor can be a sales representative or the manufacturer. So, how can a vendor benefit you and your projects? When should you contact vendors? Three key benefits to working with vendors are: they provide local support; you get to work with a subject matter expert; and you gain access to technical trainings and presentations.
Get Local Support
Depending on the vendor and the type of service or product they offer, working with a vendor will usually give you the peace of mind of getting local support. The form of local support the vendor provides can vary, but becomes critical when dictated through design specification development, project schedule delivery, bidding, shop drawing and operations & maintenance (O&M) reviews, and start-up and testing. In the case of sales representatives, they are usually representing manufacturers that are not local to the city, state, or country. The sales representative becomes the local support needed to bridge the gap between the manufacturer and the end user. Working with a vendor can give you the local support you need and the onsite representation your projects warrant.
Work with a Subject Matter Expert
As engineering consultants, our focus is to understand the big picture of a project and the overall process flow. This sometimes prevents us from getting too immersed into one aspect of the process. For instance, do you know a pump’s materials of construction that are NSF 61-certified for potable water applications? No? Well, a pump vendor will probably be able to answer that question. Most vendors are considered subject matter experts because they are consistently focused on one or two parts of a process. A vendor often has an in-depth understanding of how their products and services work. This experience that would normally take years to obtain can be at your disposal with a simple call or email if you choose to work with a vendor.
Gain Access to Technical Trainings/Presentations
Working with vendors can give you access to technical trainings and presentations. This is a multifaceted benefit. Since vendors are typically registered with their respective engineering boards to be continuing education providers, these resources can be used to obtain continuing education credits that engineers traditionally need for licenses or certifications. These resources can also be used to put together technical/design reports and project specifications, as they can provide job-specific details and points of consideration.
No matter your industry, we can all benefit from working with vendors. Consider reaching out to your local vendor today to get access to these benefits!