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By Kelly Rogers

Continuously keeping track of supplier performance when it comes to procurement can seem like an impossible task, particularly for large-scale organisations with multiple supplier contracts running at any one time. There are, however, several key warning signs to look out for that may signify troubles ahead – alerting you that there may be larger problems on the horizon:

  • Poor Communication

Good communication is the cornerstone to any good supplier relationship and it’s vital that the expectations of any supplier contract are clearly outlined, understood and agreed upon before work begins. Having a named contact who you can talk to should you need is vital, as is understanding who’s looking after your contract and ensuring that your orders are received, serviced and sent promptly. If a supplier is reluctant to give you a named contact looking after your account, or repeatedly fails to get back to you in good time, then warning bells should be ringing. It’s likely that there’s a reason why they’re avoiding you – whether it be a simple case of disorganisation or a deeper issue – and has the potential to cause problems for you somewhere along the line.

  • Missed or Late Orders

Whilst small niggles can happen during the lifetime of a supply contract, missed or late orders are undoubtedly a sign that your supplier isn’t performing as they should be; particularly if this happens repeatedly. If you experience a late or missed order, flag this immediately with your supplier and talk to them to understand why it happened. If they’re unable to tell you why, or let you know what measures they’re putting in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again, you should act as a serious warning signal. Procurement monitoring software, like our own CF Analytics platform, can help you keep on top of this.

  • Price Changes

Whilst product or service charges may, and are likely to, change over the course of a long-standing supplier relationship, sudden or drastic price changes should be flagged as a potential cause for concern. If your supplier imposes an unplanned price change, talk to them about why they’ve done so and see if there is any room for negotiation. If nothing can be done and you’re unhappy with the cost that’s been given, look in to your existing contract with them – it may be a more financially viable move to switch suppliers, which couldn’t be easier with the help on an e-sourcing platform.

  • Problem Solving

Problems with orders can and do happen; it’s how your supplier deals with them that makes the difference. A good supplier will often notice and resolve a problem before it makes its way to you, or flag an issue to you first with plans of how they expect to resolve the issue. A good supplier will likewise be readily available at the end of the phone to solve any issues you encounter as swiftly and efficiently as possible. Warning signals should be flagged when issues with your orders aren’t dealt with as they should be, or are missed completely; particularly if this happens more than once.

  • Damaged Goods

It goes without saying that suppliers are contractually obliged to deliver goods to you that are both in proper working order and fully fit for purpose. Damaged goods are never acceptable and should always be flagged directly to your supplier as a cause for serious concern. If damaged goods arrive, contact your supplier immediately and ask them exactly how they plan to resolve the issue, as well as what they intend to do to minimise the chances of this happening again. If your supplier is reluctant to offer a solution, this should act as a definite warning sign; consider looking elsewhere for a solution to your procurement needs.

Looking for a new supplier? Find out how our e-sourcing solution, CF Source, can help you.

Kelly Rogers
About Kelly Rogers
Happiest chatting or writing (handy given my job eh?) I also spend my time walking a scruffy hound called Miss Nibbles, making my flat look pretty (difficult when living with aforementioned canine) and consider myself a professional shopper.
Supplier Problems? Warning Signs to Look Out For