Myth #4: It Is Fair To Assume That Acceptable Credentials Are An Indication Of Future Success – Part #1 (Lesson 14)
At various points during the supplier selection process, it pays to check the credentials of the organisations and individuals that you are engaging with.
Of course, you want to ensure that the products you are about to buy are fit for purpose. You also want to make sure that the services – and the organisations that provide them – can successfully complete the project as promised and to your complete satisfaction.
Just like with the stock market, however, past performance is no guarantee of future results. Far too many projects still fail, regardless of attempts at this stage to perform due diligence.
So what is going on?
Take your partners please, for the ‘Buyers and Sellers waltz’
In layman’s terms, when you contract with a supplier, you are buying:
- The right to own, or make use of, product(s) that should be ‘fit for purpose’.
- The services of a team of people, or an individual, to help you start using those product(s) in the agreed manner.
One of the key benefits of hiring a company to provide you with services is that you are not just ‘buying’ the individual(s) that you deal with. Instead, you are tapping into the collective experience of the whole organisation and the wealth of projects that it has previously delivered.
The individuals that you deal with are merely the tip of iceberg in terms of the resources, intellectual property, and intellectual capital that you can tap into.
Suppliers are therefore keen to demonstrate the value of this wealth of experience during the buying process. Due diligence binds you to seek this information, but of course, how much due diligence you perform, and how you do it is another matter entirely.
Before you engage with a new supplier, you should ascertain whether they:
- Are honest and trustworthy.
- Are dependable, helpful, and easy to work with.
- Deliver value for money.
- Deliver consistent results.
- Are financially stable.
In effect, whilst the potential supplier is telling you how good they are, you need to determine just how bad they are.
And so begins the ‘Buyer and Sellers waltz’.
Scratch beneath the surface of suppliers’ ‘proof points’
Suppliers ‘prove’ their potential value and worth in several ways, including:
- Accreditation and certification.
- Example consultant résumés.
- Case studies.
- Reference site calls and visits.
Examining each of these in turn, we will see that each proof point has both value and specific challenges in terms of just how useful it may be to you as a buyer.
You may not be able to influence this, but how much weight do you attach to the certifications and accreditations held by consultants working for the suppliers?