Five Reasons Companies Stay With Sub-Par Vendors

Frustrated woman on phone

Are your sub-par vendors giving you a headache?

Let me play out a little scenario for you that you might recognize. Let’s say that you start with a new company. You are excited about your new job (which hopefully comes with a nice bump in pay). The first couple of days are swamped with orientation, setting up your email, going to lunch with your coworkers, and getting caught up on the company’s ongoing projects. After the first week or so, you gradually begin crossing paths with the various vendors your company relies on to provide parts, manufacture your products, design and create labeling, etc…

You notice that one or two vendors are slow to answer your emails or calls. When they do respond, their communication is confusing, showing that you are not on the same page. When they send over the specs, you notice small errors or general sloppiness. When you get everything ironed out, the next set of proofs comes to you a day late.

As the months pass, it becomes clear that these same vendors seem allergic to getting things right. They consistently make small mistakes, are late, are unresponsive, or get confused about even simple details. You mention something to your team members, and they all just shrug it off. When you finally go to your boss, he or she isn’t surprised. Yet nothing changes. Your company keeps using these sub-par vendors. Why?

Have you run into this issue before, or is it happening right now at your company? Many companies will stick with bad vendors, and here are five reasons why:

1.       It’s Too Much Effort To Change Vendors Now

The number one reason that companies stick with sub-par vendors is what I call the “laziness factor”. You might assume that it will just be too time-intensive to search for and train another vendor. You may worry about projects falling behind or simply not have the resources available to bring in competing companies for bids, evaluate those bids, and then educate a new vendor on the ins and outs of your products and internal workings. Isn’t it just easier to stick with the devil you know and fix the inevitable errors as they come?

 2.       My Vendor Is A Great Guy/Gal

Finding a new vendor means letting go or scaling back the work of the old vendor, which can be challenging on an emotional level, especially if your vendor has worked with your company for years. We aren’t robots. Your vendor might have taken you out to dinner many times, sent you sports tickets, and given you a heartfelt card for the holidays. You may know the names of his children, or even swapped favorite potluck recipes. It’s easy to feel loyalty to a person you like and to be much more forgiving of mistakes.

 3.       They Used To Be So Good

A vendor may offer stellar service for months or even years before you begin to notice a decline in quality. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Maybe the vendor is dealing with a personal issue. Maybe an excellent employee at the vendor’s office left, or your vendor is struggling with cash flow and is using sub-par materials. It could just be that your vendor is simply taking your business for granted and isn’t trying as hard to please you. Whatever the reason, you may want to believe the decline is only temporary even if it hasn’t improved in a long time.

4.       They Offer Unbeatable Pricing

If you are part of a new or startup company with a lean budget, you may be drawn to the lowest cost vendors even if you have to sacrifice quality in the bargain. It is easy to get hypnotized by great pricing without realizing that mistakes or poor quality service have their own hidden costs.

 5.       They’re Not That Bad

It’s possible that other people in your company are so used to a sub-par vendor that they don’t even recognize how badly the vendor is performing. They don’t realize what great service and competent management looks and sounds like. In this scenario, it may be very challenging for you to push through change, because your boss or teammates don’t even realize that there is a problem.

Many times more than one of these factors will be at play when a company continues to work with a sub-par vendor. If you feel that it is finally time to seek other alternatives, I would love to help you overcome each of these areas of resistance, especially the first factor. Finding new, spectacular vendors doesn’t have to be a long and arduous process. I can actually do all the work for you and operate as the middleman to connect you to some of the best and most tested vendors in the country. Contact me at (925) 516-2082 for a FREE consultation.

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