Real SMB IT: Work With Suppliers

June 22, 2009

I can guarantee that if you look hard enough, you can always save a dollar or two buying IT related services or supplies at a different spot each and every time.

But before you do that, ask yourself; are you are building a supplier relationship that is a win-win situation?

A win-win situation is collaborative, it is trusting, it is knowledge.

Anything else will most likely be just adversarial. And when the chips are down, adversarial won’t help you too much.

Try to cultivate a couple of suppliers. And work to maintain them as you would a large vendor or customer.

One good reason for doing this? – If you have particular industry specialty requirements, if they have that expertise, they can be a valuable source of advice.

And second, if you are treating your suppliers in a win-win manner, when there is a problem, you are more likely to get the ‘A’ team to help you.

Case In Point

I had a complete system failure of a critical piece of IT infrastructure. With nothing more than a phone call, replacement gear and service techs were on site replacing the dead pieces in just a couple of hours.

If I had spent the last five years beating them up on nickle and dime differences from Joe’s PC Supply, would there be that same relationship?

I doubt it.

I am not advocating following military spending habits and dropping 5 Thousand dollars on a hammer!

But bouncing around your suppliers trying to get each one to drop a dollar to meet the competition until there is only one left standing does not do a hell of a lot for you in the longer term.

So cultivate them, treat them with respect. Like any relationship, debate costs, even constructively argue!

Because at some time when the chips are down, collaborative beats adversarial

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Photo Credit Aidan Jones via flickr


One Response to “Real SMB IT: Work With Suppliers”

  1. […] this previous post I wrote; I can guarantee that if you look hard enough, you can always save a dollar or two buying […]

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