Monday, April 20, 2009

Should we turn Corporate Hospitality on its head?

I'm sure many readers of this blog, like me, are in a "decision making*" position and therefore enjoy hospitality courtesy of suppliers and potential suppliers. Well, I'm wondering whether there is a role for customers rewarding suppliers with hospitality? Now before you say "Isn't payment incentive enough?", "Are you mad?" or, I day say "Shush, you're giving the game away!" please hear me out. Now, I work in information technology, and many IT companies, particularly the large systems integrators and outsourcers, feature corporate hospitality somewhere in their business development strategy. Perhaps it is more pervasive in IT than other supply chains (my observation looking round the tables of Twickenham, Silverstone and Cowes) because of the abstract nature of many of the goods/ services sold, the emotional attachment to large procurement and complexity of subject matter leading to a strong emphasis on brand trust? I digress...

However, my thought is that only in rare circumstances do the people who lead service delivery directly benefit from financial mechanisms between customers and suppliers designed to reward quality and high performance. Perhaps it would be effective to reward good service with some entertainment for individuals? You can imagine that across procurement budgets of £tens millions this could provide a great return in terms of achieving stretch from those responsible for delivery who are otherwise difficult to motivate from outside their line management.

Has anyone tried this approach? I'd be interested to know.

Maybe it's just too radical an idea. I fear being outed by the IT establishment as I type this... and my boss!

* I've long been amused when asked "are you the decision maker?". If only it were that simple.

1 comment:

Steev said...

Hi ClickRich,
Some savvy customers do indeed take out their suppliers. BT's Purchasing Department once took me sailing. It was very interesting to see the methods that salespeople use being used on them by a very clever purchasing department! It wasn't so much to reward good service though - more to establish a tight relationship so that we would come through for them in a crisis....