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Working without knowing your preferences is like solving an endless list of multiple-choice questions — risky and unnerving. This is why business owners feel the need to list their preferences when considering sellers of any kind of product or service.

This list is based on preference criteria such as pricing, quantity, proximity, capacity, rating, experience, customer support, and the likes. Such a list is known as a Preferred Suppliers List (or PSL), and it’s helpful in narrowing down your options without too much stress or time wastage.

How Does a PSL Work?

Based on your PSL criteria, you can craft a list of all the suppliers in a specific field that are accessible and match your preference. Of course, you won’t be dealing with all the suppliers in a particular list at once, but having this list weeds out all those suppliers that do not fit your requirements.

Other than this, a PSL also helps to sort out which suppliers can send you their resumes and which ones are just unsolicited junk in the mail. This makes it easier to separate the details of potential suppliers by matching them to the names and credentials on your PSL. 

When your PSL is all sorted and up-to-date, it ensures that you never run out of supplies and suppliers that fulfill your needs and match the quality you expect. You can contact any other preferred supplier from the list, too, in case your usual one leaves you hanging by a thread. This way, none of your time or efforts are wasted in searching for new suppliers every now and then.

How to Know When My PSL Isn’t Working?

Just because you have built a Preferred Suppliers List doesn’t mean it’ll always work perfectly. It might face a technical glitch or an administrative fault. Either way, having a nonfunctional PSL can drive you nuts. If you suspect your PSL isn’t effective in sorting your suppliers, then here are some key points you can run a check through:

Technical Problems

The automated functions in your PSL may not be working properly if:

  • Your System Isn’t Updated

When you store your Preferred Suppliers List on software, it needs to be synced with new system upgrades as well as the latest preference changes every once in a while. However, if your software doesn’t upgrade, it may not be able to find and match your preferences after a while, resulting in glitches, such as missing information or erroneous files.

  • Your Systems are Incompatible

Another indication that your PSL list isn’t doing its job right is when the various apps and programs you use aren’t compatible with each other. This means that the resumes and business emails you receive may not be sorted well, or that the listing software you use doesn’t work well with your email program, or that the sorting algorithms aren’t workable with your business model. If you suspect glitches of these kinds, you may call in a professional to review your PSL model.


  • Administrative Issues

Another set of indicators is rooted in the human errors within your organisation. Here are some instances that tell your PSL isn’t working out:

  • When You Don’t Have Clear Preferences

Okay, so let’s suppose you run an arts and craft business. You need blue pigment suppliers for your acrylic paints and colour pencils. But when you’re setting up a supplier’s list, you overlook the different types of blue pigments that various suppliers deal in.

Instead of getting different pigments for acrylics and colour pencils, your list names suppliers that provide watercolour pigments. The whole situation blows up when your batches of colour pencils and acrylics come out disastrous! 

It’s important to have your preferences crystal clear before you activate your PSL, and if you haven’t done that, then your PSL may not be working as it should.

  • You Get Irrelevant CVs 

Another way to know if your PSL is working is to look at the business- specific results from suppliers or clients. Take building services, for example. Our specialty. Are there any CVs that do not match a certain supplier description? If you spot a couple of CVs that might seem irrelevant and dissimilar to your defined criteria, that means the PSL isn’t doing its job well. 


Having a PSL that works well and is adjusted exactly according to your requirements is critical in speeding up your business. But a PSL that fails to do its job is the downright opposite: a total headache! If you doubt that your PSL isn’t working well, here are some warning signs for you to check out.

Need help narrowing your field of interest, either as a client or as a job seeker? We fine tune our processes to make it easier for you. Get in touch today to speak to one of our recruitment experts. 



Author: Mohammed Adris is a co-owner & director at Responsum Global. He has over 8 years’ experience matching the top building services engineering talent with the best employers. He has over 50 written success stories. He’s active on LinkedIn, is a host on The Building Services Podcast, and a regular writer on The Building Services Blog. He’s a dad of 2 & a petrol head.