Supplier executives often believe that their business is secure because they have established distribution, they are priced competitively, and they've kept up with technology. However, according to Carol Spieckerman, president of consulting firm Newmarketbuilders, past performance does not guarantee future success, "especially when other aspects of a supplier's business may be harming their reputation and impeding their overall performance."
Based on interviews with hundreds of retail buyers and licensors, Spieckerman has compiled a list of the Top 10 supplier mistakes that retail buyers say give your competition the edge. These mistakes reflect frustrations with suppliers' reliance on "old school" selling techniques, unprofessional account management, and short-term planning.
The Top 10 mistakes are:
1. Lack of Planning
2. Poor Communication
3. Bringing the Wrong People to Meetings
4. Waiting for Mandates or Being Slow to React
5. Not Picking Their Battles
6. Dropping Innovation
7. Resting on Laurels
8. Hiring the Wrong People
9. Not Observing Buyer Patterns and Preferences
10. Not Keeping Up
"The list may strike a chord with many suppliers since, in the days of shrinking vendor bases and direct sourcing, products and technology upgrades alone won't guarantee a long-term supplier advantage," says Spieckerman. "When suppliers hit a wall or lose programs to their competitors, they often rationalize the cause and continue doing business the way they always have -- it becomes a vicious cycle with the supplier doomed to repeat the past.
An audio CD detailing the 10 mistakes is available free on the company's website: