Today’s economy is a knowledge (driven) economy, “one in which the generation and the exploitation of knowledge has come to play the predominant part in the creation of wealth. It is not simply about pushing back the frontiers of knowledge; it is also about the more effective use and exploitation of all types of knowledge in all manner of economic activity“. Very little has changed since the Department of Trade and Industry of Great Britain penned these words in 1998.
In fact, the importance of knowledge in wealth creation is accelerating by the day now that global trade, information technology, new media, and, in particular, the social web is increasing in innovation, size, and market penetration on an exponential basis. Leading organizations now “follow the sun” and operate core business processes 24/7/365 on a global basis. Product and service pricing are increasingly being driven by value first and cost second. Organizations have to either accept the new economic reality created by the knowledge economy or fall further behind their peers in sales and market size.
But over the the past three decades, the knowledge required to compete in today’s global economy has increased exponentially. And, for your organization to survive, it needs people who are up to the challenge. People who need to be well educated, and, for the most part, better educated than they are because the world keeps changing, while the education your people received, 5, 10, and 25 years ago doesn’t.
So how do you go about educating your Supply Management workforce? Especially when there are at least seven different options available to you? You start by asking the right questions. And you find out what those questions are by downloading the latest white paper by the doctor of Sourcing Innovation, sponsored by BravoSolution, on The Knowledge Economy.
A recent article over on the Outsourcing Center, an Alsbridge Company, highlighted six red flags to help avoid a bad outsourcing relationship from ever starting that is a good read for anyone negotiating any kind of deal with a product or service provider, including a deal for (supply management) software and associated services.
The following six soft characteristic red flags are indicative of a provider that is likely to bring with it a dysfunctional and damaging relationship.
- Selling, Not Solving
Is the provider listening and offering what you need, or selling what they have, whether or not it solves your problem.
- Telling, Not Listening
Does the provider assault you with the triple digit PowerPoint presentation rapid-fire, without letting you get a word in edgewise, or let you drive the conversation, breaking out slides only as needed.
- Homogeneous, Not Diversified
Is the provider diverse enough to understand your cultural nuances, or only aware of his or her own company’s culture.
- Complicating, Not Simplified
Is the sales process, and proposed solution, overly complex, or is it simple and straight-forward, addressing the problems you have now, not the problems you may have in five years. While it’s important that the provider can grow with you, it’s not important that they dive into details of problems you don’t have today, or sell you solutions before you need them.
- Far, Not Near
Relationships and decision making should be as close to you as possible, not half a world away.
- Arrogant, Not Supplicant
The provider should be confident, but not arrogant. The provider should be willing to listen and understand your problem before proclaiming that they have solved it before. That’s confidence. And that is what you want.
While the lack of these red flags will not guarantee a good relationship, as a nearby supplicant solution-driven diversified provider that listens and simplifies can still be incompetent, at least there’s a good chance that the relationship can work. And any odds of success are much better than virtually guaranteed failure.