THROUGHOUT THIS BOOK we have discussed the importance of having open specifications, requirements, and dialog with your potential supply base. The goal of this openness is to produce a collaborative environment within your supply chain. In most cases, this process begins with the initial contact with your potential suppliers, and includes an open, personal dialog with those suppliers’ sales representatives.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of making a phone call or even a face-to-face visit instead of merely sending an e-mail requesting information. E-mail communications alone are only likely to produce the same sort of effort from the potential supplier as you put into contacting them. Suppliers will not be invested in the initiative or the relationship and will do the bare minimum required, if they do anything at all, to address your e-mail.
Your goal in a sourcing effort is to get the supplier as personally invested as possible in the process. This includes, when feasible, getting the supplier to commit resources beyond just the sales force to your project in order to produce creative or collaborative solutions for your particular need. These resources could include management, technical teams, and research and development teams. Typically, the more individuals who are involved on the supplier side, the more solutions and concessions you can ask for, as they will not want to lose the opportunity after they have committed their ...