There’s no denying that locating a supplier of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) can be difficult. You must either have a large network, be an expert at Googling, or collaborate with third-party services. And can you imagine obtaining APIs without access to the Internet? I certainly can’t.
To assist you and your colleagues in becoming experts at sourcing APIs, we have compiled a list of top tips that you can use the next time you are looking for an API.
1. Take advantage of the internet.
Historically, one of the most searched words on Google is the word “Google.” What I’m trying to say is that not everyone was born in front of a computer, as millennials are.
The more specific your search terms, the better the results. This is true not only for Google but also for other search engines such as Baidu and Bing.
When your search terms are simply the name of an API, such as salbutamol, you will most likely only receive information aimed at end users and consumers. However, if you start adding terms like “pharma,” “API,” “API supplier,” and “GMP” and use your new search query “salbutamol API suppliers with GMP,” you will only get relevant results for your sourcing process.
By the way, the quotation marks you see behind me aren’t just for show! When you include those before and after your search terms, Google will only look for exact matches.
However, finding the right results can still be difficult, which is one of the reasons we created Pharmaoffer. As a result, anyone can gain free access to all API suppliers. You no longer need to spend time manually searching because you can simply search and filter based on your needs with a few mouse clicks. But enough of that, let’s get to the next point.
2. Make use of your words!
What would we be if we didn’t communicate effectively? Take the time to add some context to your product inquiry when you send it. What will your company make with the raw material? What qualifications do you require? What is the timetable? This is all extremely useful information for the supplier to have!
Of course, there must be a balance. I don’t think the supplier would be interested in hearing about the entire history of the company that you copied/pasted from your website but would like to know more than “urgent quote please”! ;-).
Based on the information you provide, the supplier will determine whether or not the inquiry is interesting. So, add information that you believe is most relevant; it’s not only polite but also in your best interests.
As an added bonus, go through your received emails and see what questions you typically receive from suppliers. You can consider including one of those answers in advance on your next inquiries to show the supplier how serious you are. However, be careful not to reveal your negotiating position by saying too much.
3. Make it your own.
We all have favourites, even at work. You would go the extra mile for your favourite coworker, supplier, customer, or delivery person.
Remember that the person on the other end of your screen has more interests than just business. Take time out from time to time for a chat, or make plans to meet in person at business conferences such as the CPhI. Of course, when developing business relationships, you should always be sincere; only when there is a genuine connection should you get personal with another. And then just talk about football, which is what I prefer.
4. Conduct your research
With the power of the internet, you wouldn’t go to a hotel or restaurant without first doing some research on them. So, in the business world, before approaching a supplier, spend some time getting to know them.
Check out their website or Pharmaoffer company page to find answers to at least a couple of your questions. You can, for example, filter based on what certificates they have and where they produce their APIs.
Making an effort to learn about the supplier will also limit the number of suppliers to whom you will send your inquiry. Sometimes less is more, and the quality of your inquiry will show the supplier how serious you are.
Explain why you chose this particular supplier in your inquiry; this is useful information for them. Wouldn’t you do the same thing in a job interview? Instead of going in blind and contacting a dozen different suppliers, pick a few and do some research on them.
Of course, no one wants to overpay for goods or services. Is it, however, a good idea to begin your conversation by asking for low prices? I don’t believe so. The price is important, but it must be fair to both parties. It is unfair to compare the price of a well-qualified European producer to the price of a random producer found on Alibaba; in the end, you get what you pay for. So be aware that quality can come at a cost.
When the supplier realises he is dealing with a serious and trustworthy buyer, he will realise that this could lead to a long and fruitful business relationship. Because you both have to invest in this business relationship, it is in his best interest to give you a fair price. Nobody wants to part ways after just one order, so make sure he understands you’re in this for the long haul and expect the best service at the best price.
Backwards negotiation is another thing that most suppliers will not appreciate. If you need 25 kgs of an API, don’t tell them you need 500 first, only to later reveal the true amount you require. Be realistic and open; don’t tease the supplier by acting like a bigger fish than you are. Be realistic and open; don’t tease the supplier by acting like a bigger fish than you are.