A Should Cost Model Is Great For Negotiations

But whatever you do, don’t stop there.

But let’s back up. In his recent edition of PurchTips (#221), Charles Dominick of Next Level Purchasing discussed Using a Should Cost Model in Negotiation because it’s one way to ensure that a custom item price is fair. And he’s right.

Not only will a good model help you better understand your supplier’s true cost model, and what is driving the price of your final product (raw materials, labor, expensive tooling, shipping, etc.), but it will help you get a better deal. Either the projected costs will be right and you’ll be able to negotiate the supplier down to a fair profit margin, or the costs will be wrong and the supplier will have to point out precisely what is wrong and back it up with real cost data, and you’ll have a better understanding of true costs. (And even if the cost is more than you expect, you’ll still be able to avoid paying more than you should based on the true cost. So even if you don’t “save”, you’ll still “avoid”, and that’s better since, in reality, you only have “savings” if you’re spending money that you shouldn’t be spending in the first place.)

But a good should-cost model is more than an opportunity for negotiating cost savings during negotiations — it’s an opportunity for across the board cost reduction. With a good should-cost model, you’ll not only know how much you are spending on each cost component, but which cost components are the most expensive. You can then focus in on the most expensive cost components one by one, determine why that particular cost component is high (possibly with another should cost model if the component is not an unprocessed raw material) and determine if you could help your supplier reduce that cost or if you should be looking for a substitution. Maybe you’re using expensive natural rubber (which is skyrocketing) and can use a cheaper synthetic rubber. Maybe the supplier is relying on an inefficient logistics carrier and you can identify a cheaper one. Maybe labour costs can be drastically reduced with processed changes. Every cost presents an opportunity for reduction and improvement.

So start with the negotiate to make an immediate cost impact, but continue until you’ve reduced costs across the board. That’s how you make a lasting impact.