I hope that you have enjoyed the article, “5 Steps To Solving Supplier Problems.”

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Being someone with an occasional penchant for sarcasm, it was tempting to make the article “1 Step To Solving Supplier Problems (Hint:  Your Supplier Isn’t The One With The Problem).”

I don’t know what the actual percentage is, but I am betting that a majority of things labeled “supplier problems” are things that can be solved by following the article’s first step: “Ensure that your communications clearly state your expectations.”

Why isn’t the supplier providing “proper” paperwork?

Maybe because you haven’t specified what parameters makes the supplier’s paperwork acceptable.

Why isn’t the supplier labeling boxes correctly?

Maybe because you are placing your purchase order verbally with just a PO number, sending a copy of the actual PO with the labeling instructions on the day that your order has already been packed.

Why is your supplier delivering “late?”

Maybe because – unbeknownst to you – the end user is calling the supplier asking it to deliver to a location other than Central Receiving, so the receipt is getting recorded days after physical delivery, if at all.

If you’ve been in procurement a while, I’m sure you could add plenty of additional examples.

So, if there is a “supplier problem,” first check into what is happening, why it is happening, and ask:  “Is it something that we are doing wrong or not doing that is resulting in the supplier’s performance not meeting our expectations?”

Chances are good that the answer is “yes.”  And, hopefully, you’ve saved yourself from an awkward conversation with the supplier.



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."

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