AFFLINK offers tips on what to do when the supplier slips up

by Brianna Crandall — January 23, 2017 — A building manager or contract cleaner orders supplies. Upon delivery, the building manager/contractor realizes it is not what was ordered. This scenario can happen to the best of us, says AFFLINK, a provider of supply chain and strategic procurement services; even though most distributors have taken advantage of new technologies that help streamline ordering and minimize errors, mistakes can and do happen.

Sometimes a product is pulled from a shelf because it looks similar to what was ordered; sometimes computer errors occur; and sometimes there is no real explanation at all — it just happened. Whatever the reason, the only thing to do is to get the delivery rectified, says the company.

AFFLINK offers some simple steps to take when the supplier slips up:

  • Be prepared: Gather all pertinent information about the order-order number, invoice and product numbers, and any pertinent dates. You will need this information to explain the situation clearly.
  • Use the phone: With key information at hand, make the call. According to one study, about 205 billion e-mails are sent and received each day. While millions of these e-mails may pertain to problem resolution, the fastest way to get this type of situation cleared up is by actually calling the supplier.
  • Be polite: Rarely does raising your voice help the situation. This only makes achieving a solution more difficult. Start with a more well-mannered approach and remember: the rep’s job is to help remedy the problem.
  • Expect a simple explanation: Most delivery slip-ups are simple mistakes that can be corrected quickly and easily. Assume your supplier will do his or her best to correct the situation; assuming the worst will just add tension to the call.
  • Focus on solutions: If the situation and its solution are not so simple, suggest ways to move forward; often, the supplier is more than willing to accommodate you — the customer — to get any situation rectified as quickly as possible.

These tips were drawn from the “ELEVATE Your Effectiveness Program” developed by AFFLINK’s ELEVATE process to help facilities maintenance distributors improve their sales effectiveness and better serve their customers. ELEVATE is a free consulting software designed to help today’s procurement executives better manage their supply chain.