Myth #6: Outside Suppliers Can Be Trusted To Add The ‘Right’ Value – Part #1 (Lesson 19)
Whenever an organisation establishes a contract with a supplier to deliver a project, regardless of size and investment, they expect (quite rightly) that the supplier will bring certain things to the table. These include:
- The necessary skills and experience to complete the job.
- The ability to deliver the scope to the desired quality, timeframe, and cost.
- The ability to support the solution throughout the life of its use.
These expectations form the basic ‘hygiene factors’ that a customer should be able to depend upon the supplier to deliver against. And yet…
I would like to challenge you to consider how you, your project team, and your organisation can actually:
- Fail to establish the correct relationship with your supplier from the outset.
- Compromise a supplier’s ability to meet these basic hygiene factors.
Let us take a look at the first two of these hygiene factors in turn.
Hygiene factor #1: The supplier will have the necessary skills and experience
We will start with the supposition that the supplier has the broad technical skills to perform the job. We will also assume that you have already performed due diligence on the supplier. Lastly, we will assume that they have a team of people ready to deploy to your project, each member of which has a good working knowledge of the solution that they are providing you.
One thing is certain from the customer’s perspective – a lot of money will be spent on consultants. Real money will actually go out of the organisation via Capital Expenditure and/or Operational Expenditure.
Based upon this decision to invest very significant expenditure with a supplier, a customer often automatically assumes that the supplier ‘knows what they are doing’, and that they will ‘make sure everything goes right on project’.
In principle, this is as it should be. However, as we get closer to those two statements, we find that there is a lot more to them than meets the eye.
The supplier knows what they are doing
Your organisation has gone to a lot of time and trouble to choose the ‘right’ supplier. So we can assume that they are indeed a credible partner to work with – that they have a string of satisfied customers and have been correctly vetted.
Generally speaking, your supplier will know what they are doing. However, unless YOUR organisation also REALLY knows what it is doing, you could well still be heading for project failure from the moment that you engage them – despite, and regardless of, the supplier’s track record to date.
When I say your organisation must know what it is doing, I mean the project should be guided by your own project management team in a manner that will achieve the outcomes that you are seeking.
When you are a passenger on an aeroplane in an emergency, you depend to a significant degree upon the actions of the pilots and flight crew. However, you would still be wise to keep your wits about you and be prepared to act with autonomy and definite intent when the time is right.
No one else will be able to do this for you.