On his purchasing.com blog, Richard Weissman asked a question that was so simple and direct yet so thought provoking that I had to repost the question and my response here.
Richard writes “Imagine that you found a magic lamp and a genie appeared. Rather than Barbara Eden, it was a supply chain genie. (You can pick your own image at this point.) Anyway, this genie gives you one wish: ‘If you could select the trait of the perfect supplier, what would it be?’”
I replied that “[t]here’s so much we all expect from our suppliers that it is hard to distill it to one wish. So to overgeneralize, my response is… A commitment to keep its promises.”
And, if you think about it, without broken supplier promises, purchasing jobs would be much easier. Because we can be skilled at gathering market intelligence, sourcing, qualifying suppliers, negotiating a great deal, writing an iron-clad contract, and measuring supplier performance but, if our suppliers fail to keep their promises, then we can still be pulling our hair out at the end of the day.
Yes, it’s up to us to use our skills to identify and predict the suppliers most likely to keep their promises. But there’s never truly 100% certainty that there won’t be a hiccup.
When you think about how important the keeping of promises is, I think that our side (purchasing and supply management) needs to keep our promises as well. This may mean forgoing that reverse auction after the second year of a three-year contract.
Because if we can’t keep our promises, we’re going to have a harder time attracting a supply base that always will.
And, for the sake of both our blood pressure and the success of our companies, we need a supply base that keeps its promises!
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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