At the beginning of the COVID nightmare you were tasked with locating PPE supplies. You quickly opened your computer went to Google or Safari and started searching for what you needed. Once you located it you placed an online order input your corporate credit card and submitted your order and received an order confirmation with an estimated ship date. The only issue was the ship date was 4 to 6 weeks out and it was almost impossible to contact the supplier via phone and e-mails went unanswered for hours, days and even weeks. When you were able to get and answer you found out your items were being delayed with production issues, back ordered and later only to be held up in customs.

Leveraging your current suppliers might have been another option. You know these people, you have their e-mail addresses, office phone numbers, cell phone numbers, address for their offices and in many cases their home addresses. Going dark in communication could have been avoided. In addition, you could have cut a purchase order and avoided using your credit card, and the accounting headache.

Looking at your current suppliers and asking them if they have access to the items you needed, a referral to someone who does have the items might have and easier and safer path. These valued partners are not interested in a one-time order but a continued business relationship. Your success leads to their success! The ability to expedite delivery, understand the issues of supply, receiving a reasonable cost and honest and accurate answers is what these relationships foster.

Next time a situation arises reaching out to your current suppliers for their related products, assistance and direction might me a more fruitful endeavor.