Monday 28 November 2016

Is your Supplier Management like a thermostat?

Are your suppliers running too hot or too cold, and who is responsible for making adjustments so that they're just right?

On a recent supplier management workshop in Warsaw we were finding the temperature in the room hard to manage. At the end of day one the dip in attention and enthusiasm for the last 30 minutes was put down to the room being much too warm.

What it seemed had been happening is much like supplier relationship management in some organisations, that is:

One person adjusted the thermostat because they were too cold – taking it from -3 on the dial to +1, some time later someone took it to +2, and before long it was at +3, and we were sweltering.

Image result for thermostat
The next day we agreed rules for adjusting the thermostat:
  • One person was responsible for altering the dial
  • No one else was allowed to change the dial
  • The person making the change would get feedback from others before taking action  
  • Movement of the dial would be in single moves ie -3 to -2 to -1 and so on
  • Time would be allowed before subsequent changes to allow the earlier change to have time to take effect
Which resulted in a much more pleasant working environment.

Much the same I'd suggest applies when managing suppliers – what do you think?

Who is responsible for managing changes with your suppliers, and do they allow for small increments changes allowing time for feedback before taking further action? 

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring change - inside and out

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