5 mistakes to avoid when engaging suppliers

Author: Sarah Shannon
Date:  August 2, 2023

For every successful procurement project, there are as many or more unsuccessful projects that run into common pitfalls. The critical success factor to engage suppliers effectively is to identify and avoid common mistakes early on in the process. In this article we identify 5 mistakes to avoid and why it matters.

Consider this scenario - you've been asked by your boss to put work out to tender which involves engaging existing suppliers and reaching out to new possibilities. As procurement is not your day job so you want to move forward quickly and get on with your day to day job. Yes? However, you know taking your time and doing it correctly will save you a lot of headaches further down the line. That’s why understanding and mitigating common supplier engagement blunders is paramount for your procurement success.

Let's explore the 5 mistakes to avoid when engaging suppliers; recognising them can help ensure you stay on track and reward the contract to the supplier that is right for your business (and avoid bumpy relationships down the line).

MISTAKE #1: Finding the Right Balance in Requesting Documents

When asking for proposals or information, it's important to provide the right amount of detail. Too little information can lead to an inadequate solution, while too much detail can limit creativity. Striking the right balance allows solution providers to showcase their abilities while also encouraging innovation.

MISTAKE #2: Involving the Whole Organisation

Leaving the specification process solely to technical staff can result in overlooked usability and process flow elements. User satisfaction is crucial for a successful solution. So involving users from various departments ensures better buy-in from all stakeholders for the final choice.

MISTAKE #3: Considering the Full Solution

Don't just focus on the product or service solution itself. Instead evaluate the implementation and support aspects as well. Without skilled implementers or proper support, the project could face delays or not meet expectations. Building strong relationships with suppliers is key to long-term success.

MISTAKE #4: Ignoring Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Don't base your decision solely on the initial price. Consider the overall cost of ownership over several years, including hardware, maintenance, and training expenses. Understanding the TCO is essential for making an informed purchase decision.

MISTAKE #5: Planning for the Future

Don't overlook future needs and technological advancements. Make sure the product or service solution can adapt to changes and integrate emerging technologies. Scalability is crucial for staying competitive and avoiding costly re-implementation.

By recognising these common mistakes and taking proactive steps to address them, businesses can improve their procurement processes and make better decisions that align with their long-term goals and provide maximum value.

Discover our Procurement Platform designed by procurement professionals - loved by buyers and suppliers. Book a Pulse Procurement demo today here

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