Suppliers – Your Competitive Advantage?

Edward Deeming, originator of the quality movement said that quality companies would treat suppliers as partners. The Body Shop had genuine partnership with its trucking company and even shared its profit with the company which resulted in exceptional performance and a reliable delivery service to their shops – a competitive advantage.

Many companies profess to treat their suppliers, consultants and contractors as partners but in reality, few do. Some organisations demand the most out of their supplier but pay as little as possible. Others insist they are ‘the Customer’ and require suppliers to meet strict demands or go to other providers if they don’t. Others behave in a dismissive way to suppliers and contractors.

Some companies, however, consider their suppliers, contractors and consultants as partners and treat them with respect and fairness. While this seems a logical way to work with suppliers, in my experience, it rarely happens, and yet it can provide a competitive advantage if a company treats its suppliers well.

Here is how to turn your provider relationships into a competitive advantage;

Keep to your word, appointments and timelines: Some companies provide little notice on changing their appointments and obligations. Remember, the time of your contractors and consultants is as valuable as your own. Expect suppliers to live up to their promises and also keep your own word and promises. Live your Company values: Most organisations have values that they want all of their staff to work by. These usually include; integrity, respect, teamwork, care for the … Continue reading

Flight Correction Skills Vital for Business

Research has shown that 70 per cent of airplane accidents are caused by human error. An even more startling fact is that 50 per cent of these mishaps happen when crews are together for the first time. In 1977, KLM Flight 4805 collided with a Pan Am 747 on a runaway on the island of Tenerife. More than 580 people were killed when KLM’s Captain Jacob Van Zanten, a highly experienced captain with an impeccable safety record, took off without runway clearance because he was running late. The flight box recording showed that his co-pilot warned him that they did not have runway clearance but he did not challenge Van Zanten’s decision because he was hesitant to challenge the captain’s authority. This crash has resulted in many airlines putting in place Crew Resource Management (CRM) training to help staff constructively question decisions and actions made on the flight deck.

While most companies have systems in place to check and recheck actions that could lead to accidents, people often find it hard to question their supervisor or manager’s behaviour, not only in regard to safety but also in business decisions and actions that affect customers, staff and the success of the business. Often people who have lower positions; are younger; women; timid or from minority cultures are less likely to speak up.

We like to be liked and it is very hard to tell our co-workers that they are doing something wrong. It’s even harder to tell our supervisory manager that … Continue reading