Throughout history conflict has followed a familiar pattern – one combatant moves and the other responds with the countermove. Usually this dance continues until one drops and the other “wins.”
While this system may work in a fight, it doesn’t have to be that way in procurement.
Sometimes it feels as if every interaction a company has with its suppliers contains the potential to set off an endless spiral of negotiations. Instead of working together to find a mutually agreed upon solution, buyers and suppliers would rather fight one another in order to claim “victory.”
This adversarial approach to negotiation usually results in a net loss for both sides. Fixating on making moves and countermoves can distract individuals from fulfilling the best interests of their organization. And when victory is declared, the losing side suffers from bad feelings. Long after the victor walks away and the battle forgotten, that resentment can linger.
Rethinking The Zero Sum Game
The crux of the battle between buyers and suppliers is the assumption that it is a zero-sum game where the only way to benefit is at the other’s expense. Seen this way, tactical maneuvers are essential in jockeying for power and obtaining leverage over the other.
Some of the common counter tactics used by suppliers to improve their position in negotiation include deflecting or discrediting your value proposition, commoditizing and controlling responses, limiting access to business and using the past against you. But use of these strategies by suppliers only prompts procurement professionals to respond with their own counter tactics.
This doesn’t have to be the standard of procurement negotiation. We’d like to propose an end to these tactics altogether. Their use only brings about short-term gains, and playing hardball should always be regarded as a method of last resort.
In pursuit of this, we suggest buyers and suppliers instead enter into more collaborative relationships where transactions follow a clear and orderly process. The more that mutually destructive zero-sum thinking is avoided, the better your relationships and bottom line will be.
A healthy supplier relationship stems from negotiations that are not destructive. A master negotiator uses positive principles like protecting and increasing the value of ideas, dealing with ego and building trust, and navigating the bargaining process when economic uncertainty and technical complexity are at stake.
Information Is Power
Procurement professionals can avoid entering endless negotiation cycles by instead focusing efforts on gathering a wide range of information from both national and local suppliers. Vroozi’s Mobile Procurement Platform gives procurement managers access to these potential savings by offering thousands of catalogs in one mobile-accessible platform. Why play hardball negotiation with one supplier when thousands are at your fingertips using Vroozi?
Further, because Vroozi records every transaction, procurement professionals gain tremendous oversight into their organization’s spending habits. By bringing order to the procurement process, there is no need to use underhanded tactics when dealing with suppliers.
With Vroozi, not only do organizations realize cost savings by shopping from multiple suppliers on a mobile device, procurement professionals can track and identify organizational spending behavior and acquire insight on how to save even more money.