I rediscovered The Team Memory Jogger, a book published by Oriel, Inc., as I straightened my bookcase recently. The 3 x 5-in. book, designed as a pocket guide for team members, had fallen behind larger volumes.
I thumbed through it before placing it on a stack of other small books and happened to scan the chapter on Getting a Good Start, which had a section on identifying stakeholders—the people and groups inside and outside the organization who will affect and be affected by the team’s work. Four examples were given: managers, customers, coworkers, and suppliers.
The page on suppliers provided some bullet points of what that group often cares about:
- What they are expected to provide to you
- If you are getting your needs met
- If you will still want to do business with them
- If they will be expected to make changes
It offered the following tips for team members:
- Be clear about what you expect of suppliers
- Most suppliers will be eager to work with you if changes are needed
- If possible, invite a key supplier or two to a team meeting or arrange a visit to their site.
The last item about face-to-face meetings with suppliers is a worthy exercise. It helps both sides but it may be hard to accomplish early in a project when a number of different suppliers are being considered.
An alternate approach might be to meet several of those suppliers on neutral ground such as the Maintenance & Reliability Technology Summit (MARTS) scheduled for May 24-27, 2004 in Rosemont (Chicago), IL. The event, produced by MAINTENANCETECHNOLOGY and Reliabilityweb.com, promises to provide significant opportunities to meet with a variety of suppliers of maintenance and reliability products and services.
The Technology Track at the MARTS conference is designed to provide opportunities to hear about the latest offerings from suppliers in a series of concurrent technical and commercial innovation sessions where suppliers will explain their technology and answer questions from practitioners. Extended conference breaks for refreshments and lunch are being planned for the MARTS exhibit hall to provide further opportunities for conversation.
Get you and your team involved with MARTS, where there will be opportunities to learn from consultants and practitioners, as well as suppliers. We look forward to seeing you there along with your team. MT