Why do management of supplier relations is considered as hard? The reasons are simple and if you can identify the reasons behind this thought, then it will be a cakewalk for you to manage. In this blog, I shall unveil the three step approach to identify, how to manage the relationship well and come out as a winner.

So, three steps approach is as below :

Step 1 : Know what is critical for you

How do we take decisions in our life in general? Yes, we draw a boundary in general beyond which we cannot go. Before identifying supplier’s expectations, know your limits. However, you need to go slow as explained in Step 2 below in explaining your Scope, Cost and Time requirements. Don’t vomit out everything the first time you meet with your supplier, as sometime requirements are not detailed out in scope documents explicitly and they generally have some constraints and assumptions considered while detailing out in the written documents. This happens a lot with the urgent requirements, which popped up more often during execution of works, that’s why we have amendment or change orders coming to light in execution stage.

Step 2: Know what is critical for Supplier

Just knowing your limitations and requirements, will not help you in any way to lead the Supplier relations. Right? I have seen many negotiators who are in hurry to explain everything you need from a supplier. Obviously, explaining scope requirement to supplier is important and the first step to initiate the dialogue with them. But once, you have informed the scope requirement, you must allow sometime for them to revert back.

So, once your supplier has reverted back, you must note what is important for them (supplier). I would like to explain with the help of an example, when I was a naive, I learnt from my seniors, that “Be strict to agree the contract requirements”. Since, I was new, I used to tell everything upfront to supplier, so that they understand our side of scope, time and cost requirement. However, in the later years, I learnt from my another superior that you need to slowly open up and not hurry in explaining your side. This has two benefits, first you are allowing time to your supplier understand everything what is written in the Scope document and secondly they work on their limitations, whether scope, cost or time. So, don’t rush !

Step 3 : Don’t Assume anything

One of my ex-boss, used to tell the team, Don’t assume anything, as this will land you in big troubles. He used to say, when you assume, you need to break the word – Ass+u+me. So, once you have completed your discussions with the suppliers you should not be assuming anything. Even if there are constraints and assumptions, these needs to be detailed out clearly in writing, so that these written assumptions and constraints can be referred during the tough times (disputes).

Hope, you have liked this small article on managing your discussions / relations with supplier well.

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