3 Things to be Alert for when Choosing New Suppliers

So, you’ve decided to invite suppliers to bid to provide services to your organisation.  The goal is usually, to find the best price, and the best service for your company.

However, there are several challenges facing those who seek the best deal.

Here’s are three challenges you might come up against:

1.           Too much sector terminology distorts the ability to understand the proposal

2.           Every set of terms and conditions is different

3.           The sales process doesn’t draw your full attention towards hidden conditions

It was a pleasure working with David to ensure we had the best possible contract terms in place as part of a tender exercise we were conducting. David’s advice and guidance was excellent – detailed, thorough, easy to understand and aimed at ensuring contracts were clear for all parties. I’d recommend this service to SME’s, charities or small businesses who are running procurement exercises and specifically David with his extensive knowledge and straightforward approach.

Finance &Commercial Director at Lifelink.

1. “Caught in the terminology jungle”

Terminology can differ company to company.   It makes sense to an extent, as each company is keen to differentiate.  But, jargon and technological terms can mean different things to different companies, sectors, and even customers.  The attitude towards marketing can have a big impact on your ability to understand the product or service.  The words “consultancy” or “advice” for example is a free of charge benefit in some sectors, included as the “getting to know you” part of the service.  While in other sectors, it’s integral to the service and very much a standard chargeable item on the invoice.

2.  “Behind every service offering is the dreaded Terms and Conditions”

Usually, a buyer will have their list of potential suppliers whittled down to circa three. This is when the tender process can get more complicated as each supplier will have different set of terms and conditions.  That means they will all have different approaches to outlining critical business areas like liability, warranty (the performance of the company), intellectual property, and after sales service. How do you compare like for like and how can you determine if you are getting the correct service in line with what is needed?

3. “The Sales Team leaves out the difficult conversations”.

Much of the time, the sales team you engage with are principally focussed on closing the deal.  Because this is more likely to happen when you have built a good rapport, they don’t like to ruin it by having the “difficult conversations”.  The less experienced will avoid the discomfort of talking about contracts and their terms and conditions. But the more experienced salespeople won’t shy away from the awkward conversation and can back up their points with a well-written set of terms and conditions.   If the terms are written well and in line with their services, there is a natural consistency. However, the problems start when there’s no terms and conditions or very little legals to help establish the relationship, and solve problems when the service fails to deliver.  Remember, a good set of terms should protect both parties in the engagement.

At Create Ts and Cs, we can help you with the tendering process by reviewing the terms of your suppliers, and identifying the areas of risk when dealing with each supplier.  We can help you match the best supplier to your tender objectives. 

For help and support through the tender process please call us on 0141 465 7077 or email david@createtsandcs.com for a preliminary chat.