Selecting the Right Vendor Partner
What is the opportunity cost of doing nothing? A pretty heavy and far reaching question, but when focused on a specific slice of your world, it can become a very useful one. For this discussion, I will focus on the impact your vendor partners can have on your ability to achieve your strategic initiatives, if selected and directed properly. Another way to phrase this could be, “how does the status quo help achieve our strategic goals?”
Most organizations purchase products and services in order to effectively run their businesses. How do you tap into the human capital available through your vendor partners to better achieve your strategy?
Well, the first step is to make sure that you give thought to each of your vendor partners, the services they provide and how a more clear vision of your organization’s strategy might help direct their thought process in delivery of their services to you. Of course, this may not be a valuable exercise for the office supply or water cooler vendor, but when it comes to financial services, employee benefits, and business insurance, etc. it can be an eye opening and incredibly valuable exercise.
Let’s say for example that one of your organization’s strategic initiatives is to become the employer of choice in your market sector. What will it take to do that? What are the barriers? Having been through the strategic planning process, you know the answers to those questions. But how can your vendor partners impact the plan that you’ve established to meet those goals and overcome those barriers?
If your vendor partners knew about your strategic goals, would they think differently about how they are providing services to your organization? This is a question you should want answered. You may discover that a thoughtful conversation with your vendor partners about your organization’s strategic goals may unleash creative thought and collaboration which may help clear the way of obstacles identified in the strategic planning process. Absent this conversation, the cost of doing nothing is likely significant.
Given the aforementioned hypothetical strategic initiative, there are likely several components that lead to becoming the employer of choice in your market sector. They may include higher comp, more flexible work environment, improved training, competitive health benefits, improving organizational reputation, career pathing, 401k matching, and so on. Do you think your employee benefits, retirement, and human capital consulting partners are in position to share insights and offer ideas for best practices – i.e. plan design or reallocated spending?
The cost of doing nothing is a true cost in business. Research suggests that “doing nothing” stifles growth and innovation. Take a moment to think outside of the box and challenge your vendor partners to bring additional value to the table – leverage their expertise and consultative approach.