Bullying suppliers – while generally regarded as old-school and having little place in today’s business world – still is a common practice, particularly among the largest buyers in certain markets. But recent articles in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have shed some light on a story where bullying suppliers has gone to a whole new level.

Don’t miss updates on Procurement & Supply Chain, Subscribe here!

If you want full coverage, you can check out the PG articles from today and August 31. But here are the key points:

  • LeNature’s – a bankrupt beverage bottling company – was up for auction
  • Giant Eagle, a large regional grocery store chain, and Cadbury were two of the bidders
  • Cadbury is a supplier to Giant Eagle
  • Just prior to the auction, Giant Eagle sent a letter to Cadbury apparently stating that “it was terminating the purchase of about $7 million in goods annually” in an alleged attempt to “intimidate” Cadbury into dropping out of the bidding
  • Giant Eagle was the high bidder in the auction
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court Chief Judge M. Bruce McCullough vetoed the sale of Le-Nature’s Latrobe plant to Giant Eagle, on account of the alleged intimidation
  • Lawyers previously have said Giant Eagle’s actions also could become the subject of a federal investigation.
  • There’s all kind of legal action circulating that is almost too confusing to follow, but a settlement is being considered

The bottom line is this: being firm with suppliers is totally acceptable and, at times, expected of you. But there is a line. Think carefully about where that line is and don’t cross it. You may never be involved in competing with a supplier to purchase a bankrupt company, but in every day procurement negotiations, it’s smart to know when firmness is actually bullying.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM Certification Online At

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

More Posts