Implementation and Continuous Improvement
IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE as a consumer, it makes sense that most of your responsibilities end once you select a supplier. In most cases, you go to the store, you pick out what you want and purchase it—thus ends the transaction. If you are having work done on your house, you may have a few contractors come out, you select the one you like best, and then it is up to the chosen firm to get the job done. You are the customer after all, and satisfying the customer is an important role of the supplier.
This view of a customer/supplier relationship often carries over into the business world. Traditional thinking suggests that once a contract is signed, the work of the customer is complete and any further responsibilities fall upon the supplier. Most people assume that the implementation phase and subsequent account management function will be led by the supplier, with little or no obligation put upon the customer. After all, the suppliers are the experts. They have worked on implementations hundreds if not thousands of times, and they know their business well. Their job is to serve your account and ensure a satisfied customer; your job is to pay for those services or products.
This traditional view of the customer/supplier relationship still exists within many organizations, and it is a primary reason why many strategic sourcing initiatives end in failure. In 2005, an industry-leading analyst firm, AberdeenGroup, issued a report called ...