Friday 3 August 2012

Are your suppliers like Olympic athletes?

At a recent meeting a business owner expressed frustration that a supplier wasn't delivering the service he wanted. I asked a few questions and it became apparent there were a number of things going on. The main element missing had been any objective supplier selection criteria. That is if he'd thought about it objectively he'd not have chosen the supplier he had.

I wondered what the process would have looked like if selecting a supplier was the same as the selection of athletes to win an Olympic medal. What could he have done differently in order to more closely match the suppliers skills and expertise with his needs.

Like suppliers athletes excel in disciplines they have the passion for and skills and expertise in. Success may be determined by a degree of innate expertise but otherwise excelling in a discipline will be determined by appropriate and effective: physique, endurance, fitness, diet, well being, determination, training, coaching, mentoring, support etc. That is they are continually undertaking activities that improve the skill and increase the consistency of delivery.

Choice of athlete
When the team is selecting an athlete to represent them they will consider: the discipline they train for, past and current achievements, their routines for sustaining their expertise, their passion, their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being, the support they have, their reaction to stress, etc. It's only once they have undertaken this assessment that they can understand how well these athletes meet their requirements today, and in 4 years time when the Olympics arrives, and how they compare to others.

In the instance with the business owner I think he had invited a retired 100m butterfly Olympic medal winner from 1996 to take part in the 400m freestyle. No surprise then that it didn't work out. 

Have you chosen Olympic athletes as suppliers or did they just take part in the egg and spoon race at the local school and come last!

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for Olympic athletes as your suppliers

Gold medal picture Source: via Alison on Pinterest

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