The Art of Negotiating with Suppliers

The art of negotiation comes in useful in many different areas and skilful negotiators will be able to get the very best deals with suppliers leading to larger margins and more profits for your company.
Here are a few tips and tricks to remember when negotiating with suppliers.
1 – Always try to research the costs of the product – if you know how much of a mark-up your supplier has then it can help you to know if you are really getting a good deal.  If you know the manufacturing costs it puts you in an even  stronger position for negotiation.
2 – Build a rapport with your suppliers in order to negotiate the best deals – be attentive, listen well, respond to any issues they have and work on communication. The better working relationship you have with your suppliers the better arrangements you will be able to negotiate.
3 – Find areas of mutual gain – if you supplier stands firm and won’t budge on price focus on other areas instead. This could be the payment terms, down payments, length of warranty, discounts for volume purchases etc. If you can come up with something which benefits both parties you’re on to a winner.
4 – Get quotes from Read the rest of this entry

vinny02Negotiating aka haggling does come easier for some people. For example, my parents are from Europe and although I was born and raised in North America, my family was comfortable negotiating on both major and minor purchases.  This was part of their upbringing and they are more accustomed to this form of trade or commerce. As a result of having witnessed this growing up they managed to instill these traits in all their children.

Looking back, after close to 30 years in the Materials Management field, I have come to realize becoming a purchasing agent had much to do with my upbringing.  My parents used every opportunity to expose their children to real life financial transactions and nurtured the importance of achieving the best possible product at the best possible price. To be honest, for our family, negotiating an acceptable unit price on a major expenditure was a necessity.

One of these real life transactions — my Father had me actively involved in the negotiation of my first major purchase. An automobile and at the tender age of 16. Yes I had a car, which I bought and paid for with my own hard earned cash!

Watching my Father grind the Car Salesman sitting on the other side of the desk was an experience or life lesson I will never forget. On one side you have an eager yet scared Buyer (me cause I had to make car payments), on the other side is the wily sales manager. Representing the eager buyer was Read the rest of this entry

Part Two

In part one, we touched on areas on how to improve your request for proposal. We mentioned mitigating risks, improving bid responses and clarity. In part two, we will provide further amplification to these three areas.

Mitigating Risks: To reduce risk or to reduce liability against your organization we strongly recommend you involve legal counsel prior to issuing any formal RFP or RFQ documentation. Be sensible, if the proposal is budgeted for $5000 you might wish to pass on the legal counsel review, however, if the proposal has a considerably larger value and or risk then you should consider this option. Having provided this caveat, we are also assuming you are using a quality template that has been reviewed and approved by your organization in the first place.

Other ways to limit liability is to ensure your instructions to bidders are consistent and do not contradict within the proposal. An example, would be a technical specification being at odds in two different areas of your bid. Another example is an extension to the submission date. If you indicate the tenders or proposals must be received by 3:00 PM PST on August 4, 2012, then you are legally bound to stick to this timeline. Many organizations date and time-stamp proposals at time of receipt. This log and control function is a form of mitigating risk in the event they are challenged. If you issue an addendum or extension to a deadline then this must be provided to all bidders.

Risks and liabilities are a very dry topic and we could spend a considerable amount of time on this subject alone but we hope the above gives you some sense on how to avoid getting embroiled in a legal challenge. Lets move on to improving your bid responses. Read the rest of this entry