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International Supply Chain Disputes & Supplier Validation – Pt2

By Roy McFarlane

Supplier issues can affect the overall business and can become an unrecoverable and expensive problem. Business owners can do a lot to prevent defective parts and materials from international suppliers from becoming a major business problem.

Big-name suppliers first try to slow the process and wear down the customer

When big-name suppliers are disputed, their first action is to slow the process and wear down the customer. Most small businesses cannot sustain this and drop their claim. They forget that Consumer Protection Laws are on their side. Just because it’s a business case doesn’t diminish their Right to have Compliant and Serviceable products supplied to them, along with reasonable assurances, at the point of sale.

Impact

Stress – disputes are stressful, that’s a given, but waiting simply adds weight

Workday – days start earlier (on a negative) and end later (on a negative)

Uncertainty – when progress is slow or non-existent, doubt and uncertainty are unavoidable

Wellbeing – the compound effect is the business owner’s energy is sapped and their wellbeing suffers. This affects everyone around them, even if they hide it well.

The solution

The most common request we experience from business owners dealing with disputes is that they simply want “someone to take this problem off my hands and make it go away”.

A typical proposal would include an evidence review, selecting suitable Legal services (specific to cross-border disputes) and Testing services to provide legally compliant 3rd party technical review of the faulty goods and associated documentation and the establishment of a dedicated case handler.

Altogether, this enables the business owner to get back to being a value-adding component in their business and creating an experienced single point of contact for all parties involved.

In parallel to this, is the establishment of Quality Assurance measures for selecting alternative new suppliers and establishing a product validation procedure, to ensure that faulty goods are identified early and don’t go out to customers.

These solutions are implemented with the business owner being in full control and in accordance with business priorities but supported with experience and specialist expertise.

This small business has a strong case against their supplier, but their true strength is how they have pivoted to strengthen their internal processes and procedures to prevent a similar issue from happening in the future.

They took this encouraging quote to heart.

“Your suppliers should value your custom in the same way that you value your customer’s”

Now they are considering smaller, more customer focussed, suppliers that share their values and commitment to giving the final consumer a great product and a better experience when mistakes happen.

With the new procedures in place, this business is fulfilling its legal obligations and demonstrating that they are doing everything reasonably practicable to ensure that their customers get what they paid for.

This is a critical risk control measure and strengthens the Company’s position when a legal challenge is presented.

Roy McFarlane | UK Business Advisors (ukba.co.uk)

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