12:59 pm – You settle into your seat in the meeting room, in preparation for an hour of arguing, finger pointing, and general non-performance between the marketing rep, engineering rep, finance rep, and the customer success rep (that represents the account management team).
First off, the customer success rep is p!ss3d that the incumbent supplier, that is supplying four of their five top customers is being invited back as all of the customers are complaining about product quality. The supplier did send out a few bad shipments, but has since re-instituted the mandated quality assurance processes and allowed you to place a quality rep at their site that reports to your organization. Quality has increased to minimally acceptable levels on the last two shipments and things are on the up and up. (But since each customer only gets a shipment every three months, those four customers didn’t get their yet, scheduled for the next two batches.) And the customer success rep would know if engineering had a way to update them.
Next up, the finance rep wants to know why the two lowest bidders have been disqualified because the organization needs to lower costs by 10% and those are the only two suppliers likely guaranteed to do so on the project. It’s pretty obvious why based on the product ratings from engineering and customers and the historical quality ratings across projects, but apparently finance couldn’t be bothered to figure out how to run the reports.
Then the engineering rep wants to know why they can’t just keep using the incumbent, who has already agreed to a 5% price reduction to make up for their quality failure. Especially since Engineering put all this time into qualifying them and building the relationship. (Unaware that this supplier has also performed poorly across sister companies, which you are aware because the PE firm that bankrolls you collects cross-organizational data and builds it into the risk reporting feeds you get monthly — outside the platform.)
Finally, marketing is up in arms that you are not looking for suppliers that can deliver products with new and exciting features they can sell.
Thirty minutes of complaining, ranting, and basic Q&A pass before you can even get down to business.
The RFP was scheduled to go out today, on final review, but the supplier list has yet to be approved, hence the reason for this after-the-last-minute meeting. The incumbent supplier, three previous bidders, and six potential new bidders were invited to the RFI, two new bidders didn’t respond, and two didn’t meet the quality cut. You were ready to send it out to six, but customer success still feels their grievances haven’t been heard on the incumbent, engineering says they will disqualify the previously invited bidders for the same reason, and finance feels the two new suppliers, based on their bids in other projects, won’t be competitive.
Finance wants more suppliers, you need suppliers engineering will consider, and without at least one supplier that tickles marketing, you’ll hear nothing but moaning for months.
So you need to do another discovery project. There’s another 20 hours and 2 more weeks down the drain. And an addendum to the report you just gave your boss less than two hours ago – damn!
Anyway, that’s tomorrow’s project. The meeting has ended, and you have 30 supplier e-mails that you need to review today, or you know they will be repeated tomorrow — plus, one ranting and raving phone call a day is enough.
2:10 pm – Into your tenth supplier e-mail, most inquiring about invoices, event status, etc. — and other inane questions that could be answered through their supplier portal, as awkward as it may be, if they’d just learn to use it, you hit an e-mail from your key widget supplier informing you that the shipment that was supposed to go out yesterday is not complete as they have been waiting on a steel shipment for two weeks. Yikes! If you don’t get widgets in 21 days, your production line grinds to a halt! That will cost the company millions.
3:45 pm – After an hour and a half of frantic calls, you find another — off-contract — supplier that can supply a substitute shipment of widgets that, while not preferred, will work with a few minor production line tweaks and keep you going for six more weeks. If you can’t get regular shipments out of your supplier within that timeframe, you’ll be in trouble. But that’s tomorrow’s problem. For today, you still have 20 supplier e-mail and almost two dozen stakeholder e-mails to get through.
4:25 pm – The remaining supplier e-mails are not critical, a few require clearing up with AP and engineering, but that can be taken care of later in the week.
4:35 pm – Most of the stakeholder e-mails are answers to your inquiries, inquiries as to why Sourcing takes so damn long, or indicates of delay. The usual affair. Time to do a quick check on existing project status.
4:50 pm – Three projects need addressing in addition to the cog project. The axle project has questions from suppliers that need to be answered so they’ll bid. The cylinder project still needs RFI scoring from stakeholders so it can go to auction. The support team project needs more bids for key contingent workforce roles and you don’t understand why your chosen providers aren’t bidding. Fire-fighting for the next few hours.
7:15 pm – You finally get all the questions answered in the axle projects — and hopefully the suppliers will bid in the next few days; you send reminders to all the stakeholders and leave the ones who don’t read e-mails voice mails; and you call all of the contingent workforce providers in the earlier timezones where they are still in the office and discuss how important it is that they bid on the current project if they want to continue to bill you, and most agree to provide more bids tomorrow.
No real progress on anything, but you made it through today.
7:20 pm – You exit the building.
7:21 pm – You realize the headache you obtained during the stakeholder meeting this afternoon is now, as usual, unbearable so you pop a few extra strength Aleve so you can make make it home, have dinner, and rest up for another day … which likely won’t be that much different from today.