Apathy towards the use of e-procurement tools is dangerous for suppliers and sends the wrong message to host companies.

March 4th, 2014

This is a repost from 3 and 6 years ago based on a customer request to let suppliers know that if you don't agree to bid, please understand that you may lose your current business.

How should a company react when a supplier tells them that e-procurement tools have been around for a long time and are an old way of sourcing products and services or that they are not interested?

I think we all know what APATHY is, but to ground us I looked it up at answers.com and got the following definitions.

1. Lack of interest or concern, especially regarding matters of general importance or appeal; indifference.
2. Lack of emotion or feeling; impassiveness.

The question now is what do you do when you run into it during the e-procurement process?

Before I address that particular question, let me go on record as saying that any supplier who does not currently have a piece of a host companies business may not be worth doing business with if they tell you that they do not participate in reverse auctions or e-procurement events. I can’t imagine as a CEO taking that position or not wanting to bid on business that we don’t already have, particularly when it is being brought to us by a third party when my own sales team had not already uncovered it or created an opportunity with the company in the 1st place. I do not believe I would get any argument there from any other CEO either. So, to begin with make sure you are getting the answer from the top.

Here’s what to do if you are the host. Either have your sourcing partner call the supplier or call the supplier yourself. At SafeSourcing this is something we agree upon during the early stages of customer SOP development.

During the call be considerate of the supplier’s position, be brief and to the point and politely provide the following information.

1. We appreciate your concern with this process but want to make sure you understand that this is our preferred method of sourcing and it is fully supported by our executive office.
2. This is the only method we will use to evaluate vendors.
3. If you choose not to participate you will not be awarded any portion of the business going forward.
4. In the current economic environment are you sure you want to pass up an opportunity for new business?
5. Is your senior management aware of the fact that you are rejecting this opportunity?
6. Thank them for their time and request that they reconsider!   

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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