Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Supplier Relationships

Entrepreneurs and I sometimes do not see eye to eye. I think it is the difference in how our brains work. Entrepreneurs are looking for the next big thing, or creating a solution, or developing an idea. I totally and completely get that, and respect it (especially because there a lot of folks out there wayyyy more creative than me).

I am in the business of Sourcing and Supplier Relationship Management. But those things cannot occur consistently without effective upstream and downtstream supply chains.

I can find out about the most glorious, innovative, super awesome product in the world...but if I can't get it - where and when I need it - and in the quantities I need it - guess what. We're not going to use that product. Not today anyway. No matter how fancy schmanzy it is. Talk to me in 2 years when you have figured out the "how" in addition to the "what".

The disconnect between entrepreneurs and me occurs when they take their super awesome, yet abstract idea, and pitch it immediately - and then are disappointed when we don't sign up. I'm sorry - if I don't see the "how" to your "what", we're not ready to do business. (Everybody will be disappointed when we both fail.)

But sometimes, I can help them get there. The (extremely) happy medium is when I can take a small, ambitious business and give them the industry knowledge, the customer feedback, and netowrking contacts who can grow their abstract idea into a real business proposition.

Because if their product or idea is great enough, if it's big enough, I want to be their first customer when they hit it out of the ballpark at the size and scope we require.

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