Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Playing hardball in 2009

Sure it's tough out there. Companies are discounting, almost giving stuff away.

Some clients are playing hardball with suppliers--demanding discounts, concessions and throwing away whatever loyalty they had by bidding out everything.

Sounds good for clients. But...

If you're a client and your budget is reduced 40% this year...and your staff is reduced...playing hardball with your suppliers may not be the wisest decision.

That supplier, due to budget cuts and the economy, may make little to no profit on your business this year. They may have more knowledge about your product/service than some who remain on your staff, plus they bring additional insights from other businesses they deal with. You can benefit from that knowledge. It might be better in the long run to work with them and see them as a partner rather than as an expense or easily exchanged commodity.

If you eliminate them, it may be far more painful to you (the client) than the supplier.


  1. That sounds like a threat to me...

  2. Not a threat, but in my opinion, a challenging business situation.

    Most of us are both client and suppliers--so the message goes both ways.

    If a supplier is merely providing a commodity, then, it's no big deal, they're replaceable. But if a supplier is as described above--pretty valuable--then they should be looked at first as a partner. They represent more than a price point, they might be critical to a client's operation.