We have a long-term relationship with a well-known firm. Our sales representative does a great job, and the overall product and service quality are excellent. The problem is invoicing. We cannot get our invoices in a timely manner. We have complained about this issue and had meetings about it, and yet our invoices still show up months after the order has been received. My accounting department has had enough with this invoicing delay. What can I do to save our relationship with the vendor? – Trudy in Boston, Massachusetts
Yikes! It sounds like you have pursued every avenue to resolve this, except for bringing out the ace. Before you do that, be prepared to change vendors. Meet with new potential suppliers for the product or service. Keep your current sales rep informed that the action is due to the unresolved invoicing delay problems. Notify your internal accounting that you are taking proactive steps to permanently resolve the issue. Establish new supplier accounts and bring the supplier up to speed on the nuances of working with your company. During this time, if the invoicing problem has not shown any improvement, you will either use your ace or decide to move forward with the new vendor.
Trudy, your ace is your CFO, or another high-level executive. Ask your CFO to notify their peer at the problem vendor company that your business relationship will end due to the persistent problem. Decide in advance what timeline you are willing to offer the problem vendor to correct their bad behavior. One week? Two? Then place the vendor on probation with a clear understanding that any infraction will result in immediate termination. Either the long-term vendor will get their act together, or you will begin a new soon-to-be long-term relationship.
Lynn Whitbeck is the co-founder and President of Petite2Queen. She is focused on identifying and evaluating opportunities for women at work, helping them define their personal roadmap. She dedicates herself to delivering tools and insights, embracing visualization of the big picture, and identifying and implementing the minutiae of detail. Lynn aims to share lessons learned along her journey and enable positive uplift for women.