What Is Important To You?


Author: Margaret Gilbert

When it comes to procurement, do you know what is important to you? Is it service, cost, ongoing support or something else? It is useful to plan for this and to incorporate into the contract and relationship.

It is worrisome that there is an expectation that these items are ‘free’ If the issue is of importance to you, then you should be prepared to pay for the service.

Suppliers should be expected, if required to provide, be compensated for the value of the services they provide. It is obvious that there has to be communication between buyer and supplier.  The reality of the ‘must haves’ versus the ‘nice to have’ has to be worked through.

If the ‘must have’ is not present and it is important then what are your actions to change to what you know. Will you (a) take action, (b) discuss or (c) leave alone. If you leave alone, will you be annoyed and will you stew over. If you take action, but have to pay, does the ‘must have’ change to ‘nice have’?


Want               A desire for something

Need               Require something because it is essential.

You need also to consider the ‘big picture’ and take into account the relationship overall.  You can work on what you want over time, you do not want to damage the relationship altogether.

Useful checklist

  1. What is important – and why?
  2. Are you prepared to pay – and how much?
  3. Do you expect ‘freebies’?

Having a plan – you have to plan, do not assume. It is vital to communicate.

From the supplier side – do you know what is important to them? Have you asked? Do you assume? You might be surprised to find out what is important to them. There ‘must have’ could well be different from what you consider to be ‘must have’.

The first step is to ask – ask them what is important. A conversation can go from there. Making assumptions leads to poor thinking and planning.

Suppliers are happy to provide assistance and to provide expertise but often wait until they are asked. It is useful to keep an ‘open mind’ and to provide an opportunity for suppliers to have discussions with you as to possible solutions.

Consulting with rather than at is something that suppliers often wish for – but do not often receive – and this is a shame.

In addition, providing respect can get you a long way – it is sad that the way buyers speak to suppliers – you need suppliers to provide solutions to your issues, yet buyers talk to them in tones that is not helpful.

Buyers often assume that they can ‘take’ or ‘borrow’ what belongs to suppliers, obvious examples of that is Intellectual Property or risk(s) being borne by the supplier. This does not assist and all it accomplishes are unhappy suppliers.

There is a better way. The start point is to work out: what is important to you? The rest will follow such as sharing (of IP or risk). This makes it fairer for all concerned.



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