What buyer, at the start of their career, hasn't ended up with a disastrous outcome to an assignment that they should clearly have just turned down? Décision-Achats.fr has devoted an article to the subject, to help buyers identify no-go commitments at a glance.
The article outlines four situations where buyers just need to say no:
- When the scope of the request is too far outside their field of expertise
- When there is not enough time to complete the task safely
- When the request is impossible
- In the event of a conflict between the request and the company's values
Buyers must say no if a request falls outside their field of expertise
A buyer's performance is built on:
- The quality of the relationships they maintain with their supplier base
- The expertise they develop in their area of operation
These skills, based on networks and experience, ensure that a buyer's proposal is correctly attuned to price, quality and timeliness and that risks are appropriately managed.
This is why it is risky for buyers to accept purchase requests that are completely outside their frame of reference. It is better to say no than to stumble blindly into unchartered territory.
Buyers must say no if they do not have the time to properly process the request
Contrary to popular belief within companies, a buyer's schedule is actually full of value-added tasks.
Attentive to production quality, governed by rigorous and digitalised processes and assessed according to indicators involving the entire procurement department, sometimes buyers simply don't have the time! It is better for a buyer to say no than to deliver terrible quality due to lack of time.
Buyers must say no if the request is impossible
The quality of a remit rests jointly on the buyer's shoulders and on those of the person who makes the purchase request.
The buyer's duty is to put a stop to things if part of the request clearly contradicts common sense:
- Ceiling price
- Lead times
- Logistical conditions
This is less about giving a definitive "no" and more about supporting the requester in a review of the situation, working together to bring the request closer to something within the realm of possibility.
No one can achieve the impossible, but a buyer's skill lies in making the impossible possible!
Buyers must say no if a request is in conflict with the company's values
Buyers are ambassadors for a company through its sustainable procurement policy.
This is why they are duty-bound to refuse any assignment that clearly contravenes the organisation's official line, and above all, anything that forms the basis for part of its value proposition.
In conclusion, saying no proves that a buyer is a professional who can be taken seriously. Neither buyers nor the people they deal with have time to waste. This is why an awareness of the situation, which involves refusing to head down a dead-end path, is an important skill for those in procurement.
Say no, but say it in the right way. A procurement department's performance relies on the ability of buyers to work in perfect harmony with their networks, both internal and external.
To maintain the quality of their relationships with requesters, buyers must apply these three rules:
- I'll think about it before I give you my answer (not too fast)
- I can't. I'm snowed under or I don't know how to do it (not right now)
- I'll keep the file and come back to it in a few days (not over)