How to build more strategic relationships with suppliers using peer reviews
Here at Procurated, we talk a lot about how peer reviews can help procurement professionals select the right supplier. And we stand by that fact: in a best value procurement, peer reviews give buyers the insight and context they need to navigate tough decisions.
But what about when the supplier is already selected?
There are several instances where this may be the case: a buyer is required to select the lowest qualified bidder; a project manager is informed of the supplier that they will be working with; a university professor is trained on the new online grading tool that has just been purchased, to name a few.
While they may not have been able use peer reviews in the selection process, each of these government employees can benefit from hearing what their peers had to say about the vendor in question. Here are three specific ways peer reviews can add value to your relationship with a new or current supplier:
1. Enter a new contract informed
By having access to candid reviews, you enter a new supplier relationship with, quite literally, the knowledge of someone who has worked with them before.
Tell me: Would you rather know ahead of time that the new medical equipment supplier has a history of slow deliveries, or find out the hard way? What if you could know before your third email got a delayed response that the general contractor you just hired is easier to reach on the phone? Or, that a certain type of concrete held up particularly well throughout multiple harsh winters?
Insight from your peers helps you get off on the right foot with your new vendor partner. You can set proper expectations and know the right follow up questions to ask. And if necessary you can…
2. Adapt contract management style accordingly
If you have a strong understanding of a supplier upfront, a smart contract manager will factor that information into their interactions and decision-making. Let’s revisit the examples we gave above to see what the adjusted behavior might be:
- If you expect the medical equipment supplier to have delayed delivery times, add a few days to your standard ordering cycle to allow for the lag without consequence.
- If you know the general contractor is easiest to reach by phone, when there is an urgent request you call first to relay the message and agree to a deadline for a response (if needed). Then, you send the email to put the request in writing.
- If you know the concrete you are contracted for holds up well in your state’s harsh winters, you can shift some budget for road maintenance to be used elsewhere (on the flip side, if you are contracted for a different type of concrete, you may want to plan for those maintenance costs to be on the higher end of what is projected).
3. Ask follow up questions
Each review is just the tip of the iceberg. Underneath is everything you’d expect from a government-supplier relationship: dozens of phone calls and orders; challenges overcome; bridges built; schools renovated.
Even better: behind every review is a procurement official just like you who is willing to share that experience. All you have to do is ask.
If you read a review that seems particularly relevant to your agency, Procurated makes it easy to direct message that user. Whether you resolve your question over chat or move the conversation to a phone call, that peer review helped connect you with a fellow buyer who can give you the context you need to make the decisions that matter most.
Build more strategic relationships with suppliers using peer reviews
Published on Jan 13, 2021