Several months back, a member of the Strategic Sourcing & Procurement Group on LinkedIn posted a question on the discussion area of that group that has inspired a whopping 72 comments to date. The question was “What is the major reason as to why Procurement Managers are reluctant to provide feedback or feedback is minimal after a bid process?”
Most of those responses (including mine) were formal in nature, professional, and restrained. Now is the time to get real.
Before I tell you what the real reason is, let me share an email exchange I had with a sales representative of a potential supplier after I informed her that we were leaning towards another supplier. I’ve replaced some words to protect the identity of the supplier and the sales rep.
Supplier: “Thanks for the update. May I ask why you are leaning towards another [supplier]?”
Me: “Sure: lower cost, higher quality, faster production, and a more attractive royalty structure were a few of our selection criteria in which our preferred provider had an advantage over [your company’s] proposal. I hope this helps. Thanks again.”
Supplier: “Thanks for the update. Typically when a cost is lower than the quality suffers. I find it interesting that you found a company that can produce the same quality for a lower cost. [My company] is aware of our competition and has yet to find a company that offers the same standards of quality. And, our working days for the contract are 180, which is the latest the [item] will be produced. This includes the times that we send [samples] back to you for your review. If the [item] can be produced faster than is work being cut out, are you reviewing any of the [samples], does this mean the company does not have a lot of activity? And, if cost is an issue than I would be willing to discuss this with you. What is your budget?”
Me: (No response)
Supplier: “I didn’t hear back from you after my last email and I wanted to inform you that [my company] is still interested in [earning your business]. We offer an excellent marketing program, superior customer service and a professional program. Not many companies can compete with the service we offer. Our reputation and company is well known throughout the…industry and has been a steady force since 1920. Your [business] would make a beautiful additional to our [client list] so please consider using [my company] as your [supplier].
We would love the chance to work with you to [accomplish your goal]. I look forward to hearing from you.”
OK. Now for the real reason that “Procurement Managers are reluctant to provide feedback or feedback is minimal after a bid process”…
BECAUSE WE DON’T WANT TO PUT UP WITH THIS CRAP!
This email exchange was almost as if the sales rep was telling me “You are stupid. You don’t know how to make a good decision and you don’t know how to evaluate prospective suppliers.”
I was recently at a conference where I came across a brochure for a sales consulting firm that said “Prospect, prospect, prospect until you have a purchase order or a restraining order.”
Who wants to be harrassed over their decision?
Can’t suppliers just bow out gracefully when they are told “Great try, but you just came up short?”
On the flip side, I love when my sales team is aggressive and doesn’t give up easily. So maybe I’m a hypocrite.
But that’s the unvarnished truth for whoever wants it.
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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