In the non-stop aviation world there’s nothing more frustrating and annoying than an unresponsive supply chain partner. From major airlines to small 2 aircraft fleets, from small aircraft maintenance MROs, to international lessors, it’s a topic I hear about often.
Maybe it’s a colleague, another department, a supplier, or even an OEM. Unresponsiveness is rude. Unresponsiveness bottlenecks decisions. Unresponsiveness wastes time and money. And the biggest of all, unresponsiveness causes you stress.
It happens all the time. Just over a month ago we procured a part for stock replenishment. The repairable part arrived in terrible condition. The new vendor we were testing has been unresponsive. He never replies to emails, his receptionist sends us to voicemail, and he doesn’t pick up his cell phone. He just doesn’t care. The sad part is he's the owner.
I used to be a tyrant with our supply chain partners. Yelling and screaming when they screwed up and if they had the nerve to ignore me, I would be quick to give them my opinion. One time I told a GSE OEM I would be invoicing them a consultancy fee since I was coaching them on how to do their job. Yet today, I’ve taken a much different approach. An approach I’ll share with you below.
Now, I just sit back and laugh. In this hyper connected world (which poses other problems reserved for a future post) many people are becoming less connected to their aviation responsibilities.
But here’s how we can stop the unresponsive epidemic:
No excuses for sales
Let me just start off with a quick disclaimer. If you’re in sales and have an established client who needs you, being unresponsive is absolutely ridiculous.
No matter how mad they made you, no matter what’s going on at work or at home, you smile and reply as soon as you can. There is no other option.
If you cannot smile and reply, you just don’t care and you shouldn’t be in sales. It’s as simple as that.
Dissect the reasons they may not be responding
Someone may not respond for many reasons when she...
- feels unsafe.
- isn’t aware of any thoughts or feelings.
- literally doesn’t know what to say or do.
- is distracted or overwhelmed by something and can’t tell you.
The fourth reason is the most understandable. Someone literally is pulled from the phone and email and can’t tell you they’re in the middle of something. This is avoided if they have support that can still answer some questions for you or at least tell you she’s out.
In order to truly get to the bottom of someones unresponsiveness, dissect why they may not be replying. Do they not care? Are they really busy? Is this the first time they’ve been unresponsive?
The best measure if someone just doesn’t care is if it’s a recurring theme. If it’s something they always do, then being unresponsive is in their nature and you won’t change that.
Communication works both ways
The next step is to evaluate how you’ve communicated. If you’re unresponsive then don’t expect others to be responsive when you want them to be. Effective communication works only when there are two parties present.
Refine and update your communication skills. When 2 or more parties are in a dialogue that follows effective communication, so many good things can happen.
If you ignore then prepare to be ignored as well.
Create a “WOW” experience with everyone
At Skylink, it's one of our core values to create “WOW” experiences. Everyone must do this when communicating. Whether you’re in sales, operations, accounting, it doesn't matter. Be present for the other person, help resolve issues expediently, go over and beyond, rinse and repeat.
Most people would rather use the excuse they’re too busy than to help someone.
Create a list of responsive people
The next step is to create a list of partners and people who are hyper responsive. On the supply chain side we call this our preferred vendors list but this can be in any department.
Create a list of people who are willing to be there for you day in and day out. You can connect with their work phone, mobile, text, email, and the hundreds of other apps that have us all connected nowadays. They create “WOW” experiences for you.
Put these people on your speed dial and remember, responsiveness works both ways.
Fire the unresponsive
The next and easiest step is to fire the unresponsive.
Like my story in the beginning, this company was fired from any relationship with Skylink. When it comes to being responsive, you don’t get very many chances. The people who never reply and show they really don't care, fire them.
Agree to quit putting yourself through the pain of working with people who don’t care. Agree to firing these people from all communications with you and put your energy into people who care.
Dealing with unresponsive people is common. It’s annoying and frustrating. How you decide to work with these people will be the sole determinant on how much stress is created in your aviation world. You decide, choose wisely and fire the unresponsive.
P.S. If you know of someone who suffers from an unresponsive supply chain partner, share this article with them.
P.P.S. Here at Skylink, we create “WOW” experiences backed by industry leading solutions for the hectic aircraft maintenance world. Fill out the form below and lets start talking about how we can serve you.