We’ve all encountered difficult customer and supplier partnerships. Whether there’s a gap in communication or a recurring quality issue, supply chain managers have the responsibility of determining when enough is enough. After all, we can’t control the actions of others, but we can determine how to best approach the situation.
Take time to investigate supply chain-related problems
As tempting as it might be to fly off the handle and blame the supplier for quality issues or delayed lead times, remember to take a step back and investigate the situation.
Often, the root cause of the problem isn't as obvious as we'd like it to be. For instance, let's say you for paid one-day delivery, but the product comes in a few days later. Not only is this frustrating because you paid for expedited shipping, but now your lead time is also liable to fall behind schedule. It can be easy to get swept away by this unfortunate turn of events and turn your anger on the obvious offender.
Instead of accusing your supplier, document the event and discuss what you have with your supplier. Did your supplier ship the product when they said they would? Were there any discrepancies in warehouse and shipping records? What other factors might contribute to this delay?
By presenting the problem to your supplier as "how can we fix this together" as opposed to "what did you do wrong?" you're more likely to get to the root cause of the issue and establish a collaborative solution—effectively building a positive reputation for your company and strengthening supplier partnership.
When is it time to find a new supplier?
Every company has a different approach for knowing when it’s time to find a new supplier. If your medical supplier hasn’t shown signs of improvement regarding PPM, lead time, quality, response time or cost efficiencies after you’ve tried working through the issue with them, it’s time to find a new supplier.
However, you may be able to find a compromise. Some issues may be caused by your supplier being at capacity. In situations like this, you may want to strategize by giving them less work and outsourcing to your secondary supplier.
At HUI, we pride ourselves on lasting partnerships with our approved supply chain. If you have any questions regarding supply chain management or how our capabilities can benefit your industrial project, contact us today.