Take advantage of the summertime heat and take the temperature on your supplier collaboration with these five essential questions.
There is a hitch in the collaboration, things are happening WAY too slowly, and the only solution seems to be a new tender. But hold on a second, before you send your supplier packing – there might be a better and more effective solution to your problem. This solution, however, requires an extremely honest analysis – of both your supplier, yourselves and your supplier collaboration!
You still have time to turn the ship around
We often see that collaborations veer off track at some point in the contract-stage. And this is actually rarely 100% the fault of the supplier. So, even though it may be tempting to completely blame your supplier, it can often be beneficial to look yourself in the mirror – otherwise you risk that your previous issues stick around for the next supplier contract. Before drawing the ‘tender-card’, you should therefore ask yourself these 5 questions about your collaboration. Because you can most likely get it back on track again!
- Does the contract match your needs?
Have your current needs changed substantially after your entered into your contract? Most businesses’ needs change over a contract period, and it is therefore a good idea to create a contract which can change to match the needs of your organization. If you experience that the supplier has a hard time fulfilling a delivery, then consider if this is because the contract needs to be tailored to fit new demands or delivery methods from the supplier. Maybe your current situation entails that the contractual description of the collaborating organization is no longer applicable to the collaboration you want now?
- Are you getting the most out of your meetings?
Are you getting something out of your meetings together? There can be many reasons why a meeting can feel like wasted time, and preparation and communication often plays a huge part. Make sure that you send out satisfactory materials prior to the meetings and far enough in advance enough that both parties can show up well-prepared. Furthermore, you need to make sure keep a record of your meetings, which clearly states, which decisions were made, and which claims need to be resolved – by whom and when. When doing this, it is also a good idea to consider, if you are utilizing the opportunity for escalation in a responsible and effective way, so you can avoid delays caused by things such as being too slow with handing over problems to the people with the power to make decisions.
- Do you have the right people on board?
It can be hard to keep track of things, if either you or your supplier have replaced key people several times throughout your collaborative process. For this reason, it is a good idea to examine both the technical and commercial roles. Are the necessary competencies present, both in your supplier and yourself? Can education or attachment of a mentor or senior-competency quickly raise the competence level, where it is needed?
- Are you utilizing your supplier’s full potential?
Are you actively using your supplier’s competencies for things like making changes to your delivery set-up? These could include ‘continuous improvements’, application of new technology, yearly inspiration workshops, different modes of delivery etc. And while you are in the process of evaluating your agreements, you should check, if there are any services in the agreement you could benefit from avoiding, because they can be solved better elsewhere. Or conversely, if there are any areas you could benefit from adding to your agreement, because your supplier has turned out to really excel in that particular area.
- Is the contract still advantageous to the supplier?
There is a reason we call it a collaboration. Both parties have to gain value from it. So, if you sense that there is a problem, this may be because your contract is not advantageous to your supplier – or maybe it involves a downright loss? This can sometimes be due to an increase or decrease in the consumption of certain elements, or due to deliverables being expired or new services having been introduced. Consider, if the agreed-upon price elements have become a hindrance to both parties viewing the agreement as economically attractive. Does it make sense to renegotiate elements of the agreement, so it better reflects the expense-picture the supplier has, and that you are paying for?