I hope that you have enjoyed the article “4 Essential Vendor Collaboration Questions.”
Today, I just conducted the monthly NLPA members-only webinar on the topic of vendor communication and how you have to be careful in your communications with vendors to ensure that your organization gets what it wants and avoids disputes. Doing that webinar made me think of how communication is done and, specifically, how true vendor collaboration as specified in the article needs to be done.
Sometimes, I shudder when I teach certain procurement tactics that can be misused or at least sub optimally used. Negotiation is one example. If you say something verbally to a supplier – especially in a face-to-face setting – it is usually much more effective than writing it in an email. Same words, different medium, different result.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had students come to me, say they simply copied and pasted my suggested negotiation verbiage into an email and actually got suppliers to reply with serious cost saving proposal revisions. But, still, it is usually more persuasive to communicate face-to-face with someone who has your complete attention as opposed to someone who does what we all do with emails – try to get through them as soon as possible so they can get to “real work.”
That same face-to-face recommendation applies to the vendor collaboration techniques that I mentioned in the article. If you want maximum vendor collaboration, communicate in person with your key vendors, don’t just treat the four questions like a survey, although that is better than nothing and can lead to some incremental results.
True vendor collaboration is time consuming. It involves personal communication. It’s based on back-and-forth conversation. But, done right, it can produce massive results.