Let’s get straight to the point:
What exactly does it mean to be an enemy of DIY centre purchase management?
There’s surely no mystery revealed in this answer: an enemy is anyone or anything that hinders or obstructs sales management. And we find players from all walks of life in this league. Some obvious, some less so.
The external enemies of DIY centre purchase management offer quality that falls short of what was agreed, perform unreliably and, of course, don't provide their service punctually. An example? A supplier who guarantees the latest innovations, but they never seem to arrive, or, when they do arrive, they’re outdated. A supplier who guarantees your company exclusivity, then does the same with other firms. A supplier who jumps on the sustainability and environmental protection bandwagon by assuring you they have raw material exploitation and manufacturing process certifications that end up disappearing because, in reality, they never existed.
Those enemies are well defined and there are tools available to keep them out of your company: training is indispensable and experience is one of your most valuable assets.
But what if you’re actually self-sabotaging, despite your best intentions? What happens when - in order to do everything as well as possible, to leave no loose ends, to meet objectives - it’s your own purchasing department that ends up working against itself?
When that happens, a nuance comes into play that ends up becoming a dangerous liability. We’re revealing a practice that’s far more common than it seems and that can ruin sales management, despite the best of intentions.
Simply put, it’s having the enemy in your own house.
The best thing that can happen when these kinds of situations occur is that they become obvious as quickly as possible, so you can tackle them immediately, minimising risks and potential losses in terms of both image and profits.
These are situations rooted in dedication and perseverance, it’s true, but also in inexperience and insecurity, that fear of missing out on something that makes you take on more than you can manage. These situations are usually caused by a desire to cover more ground than necessary and, of course, an agenda that’s impossibly busy to manage, even if these "enemies at home" think they’re giving 100% in their position in your DIY centre’s purchasing department.
How can we prevent well-meaning behaviour and attitudes from overdoing it, and keep them on target?
By focussing on time management and personnel management.
Faced with such an obvious response, the immediate thought is the same as always: easier said than done. And yes, it’s true. But in this case, it’s a matter of making a series of decisions that are so commonplace it seems impossible that their consequences could carry so much weight and be so decisive for your department, for your company and for your customers.
First, draw up a list of objectives and the potential suppliers who have the products needed to achieve them. In this first phase, it’s key to keep your scope wide. Now is the time to incorporate possible suppliers without overthinking it. Study their options, analyse their potential, compare their professionalism and scrutinise their drawbacks. Then, start the second phase: filtering.
When filtering providers, there are three principles that define the framework that leads to making the right choice:
- Firmly demanding efficiency and effectiveness from the start will mean considerable progress: leaps forward, without steps back.
Making decisions requires in-depth study before contracting a supplier’s services. This avoids unnecessary dramas that may arise from problems with sustainability commitment, quality or distribution. An in-depth study is the surest way to find "Five Star" suppliers. You already know the drill here: suppliers who demonstrate their reliability and compliance with agreements, who are committed to innovation and characterised by versatility and who have struck the ideal balance between the service they offer and the price they charge for it.
- Know your own purchasing department's capacity before incorporating suppliers.
It’s essential to know how many suppliers will actually fit into a productive portfolio, what is expected of them and how they will be managed. Once again, you need to carry out good preliminary field work, as it will save you a lot of trouble in future.
- Manage your chosen suppliers’ agendas individually, ensuring continuous monitoring that’s as personalised as possible.
A close working relationship will allow you to gain in-depth familiarity that otherwise wouldn’t grow. This familiarity will facilitate the interaction between both parties, ultimately benefiting your company.
Once these three principles have been activated, all that’s left to do is reap the rewards and incorporate suppliers that are capable of offering the very best into your agenda.
Simple? Of course.
In view of the above, who would want a high, excessive volume of suppliers that’s impossible to manage satisfactorily, when you have access to suppliers such as REI who can give you everything?
Ultimately, keeping the enemy at bay is just a matter of planning, strategy and taking enough time to know, with as much certainty as possible, who’s really forging the same path as you.