What To Do When The Supplier Slips Up

Even though most distributors have taken advantage of new technologies that help streamline ordering and minimize errors, mistakes can and do happen. Here are some simple steps to take when it does.

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TUSCALOOSA, AL — A building manager or contract cleaner orders supplies. Upon delivery, the building manager/contractor realizes it's not what was ordered. This scenario can happen to the best of us.

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-in other words, it just happened.

Whatever the reason, the one and only thing to do is to get the delivery rectified. Here are 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'll 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 emails are sent and received each day.* While millions of these emails 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.

*March 2015, The Radicati Group, Inc.

Michael Wilson, Vice President of Marketing for AFFLINKMichael Wilson, Vice President of Marketing for AFFLINK

Michael Wilson is Vice President of Marketing for AFFLINK, developers of the ELEVATE process, an online system that allows users to learn about and select products that will help operate their facilities in a greener, more sustainable, healthier, and more cost effective manner.  He can be reached through his company website at www.AFFLINK.com

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