Are you frustrated? Is it hard to sleep at night because it seems your aircraft spares vendor just doesn't care? This is an all too common occurrence and I know exactly how you feel. It seems in such a critical environment that the distance between us and certain companies only grows further apart. I have a rather funny story to share with you, but a serious one for that matter.
The other day we called a company and needed to buy a $100 part off of them for a rotable we were having repaired. We told them we needed it shipped the same day and we could buy it for $100. He said "In today's environment, I'll take anything I can get". So we proceeded to purchase the part.
The piece part didn't show up the next day. We called the vendor (keep in mind this is on a Thursday) and nobody answered...all day! So we had to buy it from elsewhere, having to spend more time and money on such a small piece part that could eventually have a dramatic effect on us. The original vendor part showed up the next day, which we had to deny. We have yet to get a return phone call.
This is a simple story that had a rather minimal impact on cost, but it happens on much greater scales and we are victims of the larger issues as well, as I 'm sure you are.
Below are 3 reasons why firing your vendor is necessary:
Poor reliability is devastating to you and the close relationship you need with your vendor. I understand issues arise, whether it be logistics, MRO repair, or OEMs dragging their feet but it's overcoming these problems, solving the problems and working day in and day out to come to a resolution that makes a vendor reliable. During difficult situations you can test a vendor on how they react to a situation and see if they're willing to do everything they can for you. This proves to you they don't just care about receiving a PO, but legitimately care about you personally and your organization.
Mediocre accessibility can create bottlenecks in your productivity. A good vendor must be reachable at all hours of the day. Whether it's an AOG, or you just want someone to talk to, it doesn't matter.
Our Account Managers will answer their Blackberry and respond to emails at 3am. They do everything they can to stay in constant communication with our clients. Now, this doesn't have to be the case for everyone, but when they aren't asleep can you call or email them and get a response? Or maybe through a different medium such as Skype or text? If so, you know they care about your operation and are available to make sure that your job is that much easier…it's peace of mind.
Now, this point may seem like I'm going to talk about prices but I'm not.
The flexibility of a vendor is critical, why? Because it doesn't take them 3 days to meet your requirement or get a response. Who wants to talk to a machine, press numerous numbers, and then have to leave a voice mail to talk to a human? I don't. Even if they don't answer their voice mail right away as most people are quicker via email, that's a start.
Have you ever heard a vendor say "if you don't hear back from us in 48 hours, consider it a No Quote"? Are these companies kidding! No, I rather you just tell me right away or at least engage with me so I know in the future, you care about my needs. This is not a flexible interactive relationship, but instead you just telling me that you care about yourself and I come second in 48 hours.
Today, it's important to understand the role of a vendor, aside from their product lines. You need the whole package from distribution, to a relationship built on reliability, accessibility and flexibility. When one of these start to deteriorate, it can make things much more difficult than they have to be.
What do you look for in a vendor? Please comment in our comment section below and we will respond.