I am so frustrated with one of my suppliers that I should not even mention their name (WALMART). They have failed on so many commitments over the last few days that I’ve lost count of their mistakes. Just to name a few:
- They accepted an order for 16,000 bottles of Martinelli’s…and then were unable to fulfill it.
- Then, they accepted my order for 13 pallets of water bottles…but they are apparently incapable of packaging a pallet. When we opened the delivery trailer, all 1,500 cases had spilled out and we had to re-pack them by hand.
- We also ordered a specific list of snack foods (Plain Vanilla Twinkies) and when we opened the boxes they had randomly substituted other products when they ran out (at a rate of nearly 10% of my order).
- When we finished counting, they had shorted us hundreds of items. They did finally deliver and we again discovered it was filled with other products
It happens to everyone…sometimes we really can’t avoid breaking a commitment. We make mistakes. Sometimes we over-commit and later discover that our company can’t deliver on our promises. But we forever damage the relationship when we retreat and hide from our mistakes. Why would you leave it to your customer to discover your mistake?
Whenever you discover that you’re going to fail to complete on your commitment, here are some tips on how to keep it from being a fatal mistake:
- As soon as you discover the mistake, OWN UP TO IT. Do not waste one second – pick up the phone and call me. For Pete’s sake, don’t hide the mistake…hoping I won’t notice!
- If you can’t deliver, help me find someone else who can. Call your competitors and see if you can buy the product for me.
- Give me a discount or reimbursement for my loss
- Provide me with extra resources (manpower) to overcome the extra work you caused me
- Maybe you should update your inventory management system so that you won’t make commitments that you can’t keep
Thanks for listening.