It never ceases to amaze me how important the simple things like returning a phone call or responding to email are to successful buyer / seller relationships.
Funny how we expect a supplier to respond and even fall over themselves when we need them. But do we always show the same respect back? Is it ok not to just because we are the ones handing over the cash?
As part of our 2017 Procurement Study we asked suppliers for some free form candid feedback on the things that affect their performance and here they are:
“Listen and engage in partnership rather than work in a power relationship”
- “treat us with respect”
- “focus on outcomes not process”
- “collaborate with us to solve problems”
- “change cultural mindset. Suppliers have strategic value and deserve to be included in important discussions”
“Be transparent about what you expect and what outcomes you need.”
- “clarity about expectations”
- “earlier engagement with the market”
- “communicate early any concerns in performance”
- “clear and reasonable timeline of deliverables, agreed upon in advance”
“Respond to emails and return phone calls.”
- “provide feedback more often”
- “get involved in the project more often”
- “be timely in your provision of inputs/feedback”
- “be responsive to advice offered rather than exhibit more concern over ticking contractual boxes.”
I think you’ll agree that there’s not a lot of rocket science here. These suppliers surely talk a lot about (lacking) professional respect which can be easily overlooked in arm’s length relationships. But make no mistake, this does have a significant impact on your supplier’s performance.
Where and what is the buyer’s accountability for supplier performance beyond signing the cheques?