How to avoid the rogue suppliers which can cripple business operation
Rogue suppliers are no good for your business and that’s not just because you may end up paying too much for a product or a service. Engaging a rogue supplier can lead to missed deadlines, commitments to your customers and even putting your employees at risk. So, ensuring that you avoid falling foul of themis an important part of the way you do business. There are some key steps to take that will safeguard you efficiently against them.
Before talking about how to protect your business from a rogue supplier, it is important to clarify what is meant by the term.
A rogue supplier, typically, is an organisation that doesnt consistently intend to supply a product and/or service to your business in the way you want it. In other words, they don’t deliver the right specification, to the right place, at the right time, and at the right (agreed) price.
So, how can your firmavoid rogue suppliers?
The first thing your business should do is ensure that it views suppliers generally in the right way. By this I mean your business should look on suppliers as an extension of your organisation. These thirdparty organisations provide the essential goods and services your organisation needs to operate effectively, whether that is the raw materials you need to make your finished goods, the provision of a fully functioning data centre, or the desks and chairs needed for your employees to work at.
Accordingly, you need to ensure you have a robust approach to finding, selecting, contracting and managing the suppliers you need to help make your business work. This will ensure you avoid rogue suppliers.
It has five stages:
(1) What is your requirement?
Before you even start to look for suitable suppliers you need to determine what you are looking for. Ensure that the right stakeholders from across your business are involved in agreeing what the requirement is, making sure what you articulate is detailed enough so as to be easily understood by a thirdparty.
(2) Understand what suppliers are out there for you to work with
With your requirements well understood internally, you need to find some potential suppliers that can meet them. For each discrete requirement your business has, do some research on what suppliers there are and what exactly they do. This research can take several forms. It might be that you have worked with a reliable, high performing supplier in this particular market before.
Or, you may ask for recommendations from your network. You can use the internet to research the market and find some potentially suitable suppliers. Or, you could you use a research company like Gartner to help you identify suitable suppliers. The objective at this stage is simply to generate a list of suppliers.
(3) Select the right supplier
This stage is about due diligence. Theright due diligence ensures you can find out everything you need to know about the suppliers on the list that you generated in stage two. This includes financial due diligence: helping you to understand things like how long the supplier has been trading, what its ownership status is, whether it is’solvent, if itpaysitscreditors in a timely manner all important considerations that will help you root out any potential rogue organisations.
Also included is operational due diligence helping you to understand how each supplier operates, what facilities and equipment it has, how many customers, what sort of growth plans are in the worksand how itcontributes to the communities in which it operates.
Simon Dixon is the managing director of supply chain and logistics advisors Hatmill. He has worked in supply chain management for the past 19 years, both in industry and in consultancy. Simon's client experience includes the top four UK supermarkets and over 50 other clients spanning sectors such as construction and ecommerce.
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