As I thought about the reasons that suppliers are refusing to play the strategic sourcing game, I couldn’t help but think that, to suppliers, sourcing problems are like dating problems.
What do I mean?
Well, imagine this…
You are invited on a date with an attractive individual one weekend. Your date suggests some activities that are rather expensive but, hey, this is really someone you’d like to know better so you agree to pay.
You enjoy a promising conversation and you think you put on your best behavior, giving you hope that another date will be likely. In fact, the date went better than any you’ve ever been on. You are excited that you and your date agree to speak again.
The next weekend, you call your date. No answer, so you leave a message.
Two days later, still no response. So you send an email.
You wait a little while without hearing back. You try texting a request for another date.
Maybe then, you get a “Well, I have a few things going on right now. Maybe in a couple weeks.”
So, you call back in two weeks. No response again.
The cycle continues for months – after all, your date was attractive! – and then, finally, you get an email from your date. It says something like “Thank you for your time. But I’m dating someone else now.”
At that point, you just want to know what went wrong. You felt you really put your best foot forward. And you spent a lot of money on the date, so you feel that you deserve some type of feedback.
So, you ask your date for a couple minutes just to learn why there was no “love connection.” Your date says “someone else was a better match for my needs” but refuses to say anything specific.
Was it your style of dress?
Did you say something offensive?
Did you have broccoli in your teeth?
You’ll never know!
And just like many single people get tired of these dating games, suppliers get tired of these sourcing games. Especially when they’ve invested hundreds of man-hours to complete a 50-page proposal to comply with the requirements of the RFP (half of which didn’t apply to the situation and were never read by the buying organization anyway).
If someone wants to attract self-respecting dates, they have to exercise a little bit of dating etiquette. And if an organization wants to attract self-respecting suppliers, they too have to exercise a little bit of sourcing etiquette.
Is it time for you to do a little self-evaluation of your sourcing etiquette?
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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