It's been an enjoyable 18 hours so far in Scottsdale and IACCM Americas 2008 event. The content in many of the presentations has been up and down, but in general, the crowd is receptive to really taking the issue of contracting -- and what it means for procurement and beyond -- to the next level. One of the presentations that I sat in on focused on the value of trust in relationships. I know -- it sounds a bit like a soft, ethereal topic that's hard to get your arms around. But trust is so important in negotiation and supplier relationships that it's an area that we should all explore both philosophically and organizationally.
When GM decided to pay supplier invoices at a percentage of face value a number of years ago, what type of message of trust did that send? Contrast this type of behavior with Wal-Mart -- who is universally known as the king of retail negotiation -- but still manages to maintain a reputation for trust with many of its suppliers. Or consider how UTC -- a company at the forefront of supplier development and supply risk management -- who also makes extensive use of reverse auctions is also known by many of its suppliers as a trusted customer. How important is trust in your supplier relationships? It's a topic that I'd like to hear from Spend Matters readers on, but it's also one that I intend to explore myself in more detail in the coming weeks.
- Jason Busch