Menu Boards: 6 Reasons a Second Source is a Good Idea

Its natural with sales, you make your calls and introductions and the canned response that you get more often than not is “we’re all set, thank you.”  This doesn’t bother me any, in fact, I hope that is what our clients are telling people.  However this isn’t a blog about how to combat sales objections, nor will I suggest that we’re the right fit for everyone (shhh, we’re not). As I have explained to several a person I have spoken with, “it’s great that your all set, but have you ever considered backing up your current vendor… just in case?”  Now the question becomes, what is the “in case” and what other reasons would there be to have another company squared away should something arise?  When I think about this, there are six reasons that come to mind.

Two1- Production overload-  Imagine for a second that you have a small series of new locations opening and despite the fact that you provided a schedule towards the beginning of the year, your supplier is buried in a large roll-out for another one of their customers. This happens. Speaking from experience, a company is going to focus their attention on the real work, meaning PO’s have been cut, credit cards swiped, checks cut, whatever.  If they are simply unable to allocate the resources necessary to accomplish your needs wouldn’t it be great to have someone else in your back pocket to produce your needs to the spec and for the price you had previously arranged?

2- Personnel changes-  Quite often, the strength of business relationships are based on personal relationships that have formed over time.  There is a level of trust established and there is your “go-to” guy that you can lean on in a pinch. So what happens if he/she leaves the organization? Is their infrastructure such that you’d be confident that they’d appropriately sustain the loss?  If not it would be a good idea to establish a new business relationship.

3- Sudden decrease in satisfaction- For one reason or another the quality has begun to slip, they aren’t meeting deadlines, the call/emails aren’t being returned as promptly.  Obviously there are a lot of reasons as to why this may happen, however the one reason that isn’t often considered from a clients perspective is the fact that you are no longer considered a Grade A client of theirs. Rather than simply breaking up with you it is like a stale relationship between one-time lovers.  They drift to the point of one day waking up and realizing they aren’t meant for each other.  ”Its not you, its me,” could be a legitimate explanation for this in business as well- which is totally acceptable.  Not all companies are meant for one another.

4- Roll-out schedule too much to handle- This is similar to #1 with the difference being there isn’t a current capacity issue because of work in production but that the pace at which you want to move would put them beyond their capacity.  A second source wouldn’t have to spell your current vendor from the entire workload but could take on a portion of it.

5- Keep your current vendor honest- Look, I am not saying to go to another company, make them jump through hoops and drop their drawers, for you to then forward their proposal to your current supplier with a “match or we’re outta here” approach.  That doesn’t serve anybody well.  There are tactful ways to broach the idea without being obvious.  If you have been presented with some alternatives to save on cost, or improve on quality, bring it up in a casual conversation saying that you “read something the other day…”  If they do not even want to entertain it, perhaps you start taking a closer look at your second source as a viable switch-to.

6- Keep your finger on the pulse of the going rate-  You don’t have to formally “second source” another company to do this.  It could be as easy as picking up the phone and making some general inquiries.  Alternatively, you could put together a formal RFP.  They way the latter could be explained to your current vendor is that it is a part of your usual protocol to vet a second source citing some of the reasons above.  This doesn’t have to be deceitful.  There is chance that you are reading this and thinking to yourself, “that doesn’t sound like a bad idea,” and you may even consider adding it to your company’s protocol.

Six is what I got to.  Are there other reasons I am missing?  Please pass them along by leaving a comment below, giving us a call or emailing us.  888-235-2579 |