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Marriage Counseling

Not all outsourcing relationships end up working just as you planned. Despite all the efforts to select the right supplier, negotiate a solid contract (with clarity of responsibility, quality, pricing and risk) and put in place a sound governance structure, some relationships don't produce the results you expected and, worse, the day-to-day working relationships can spiral down until they are unpleasant and unproductive.

Understand the Past, But Focus on the Future
Fixing a supplier relationship is about moving forward. If the relationship is not working, the primary issue is usually one of TRUST. The customer doesn't trust the supplier to do its job, or to do it well, or to respond to the customer's needs, or to watch out for the customer's interests. And the supplier often feels as if the customer blames the supplier unfairly, interferes with the supplier's delivery, presses for advantage, or does not give the supplier a fair shot at new work and new scope. Both sides are caught in a "blame game" and an "us vs. them" mentality that takes on a life of its own.

We've seen this many times.

Pillsbury Global Sourcing advisors know how to help both parties step back and re-establish the relationship by refocusing on the objectives and expectations upon which the relationship was originally based. Often, both parties are contributors to the problems, and the first step to moving forward is a serious dose of honesty from both sides about what really happened, what their concerns are, and what needs to be done about it. The parties cannot – and should not - ignore the past, but nor should they waste a lot of time and energy fighting about it.

While representing our clients, we still listen to both customer and supplier concerns and find the root causes of the past problems – not to place blame, but to find a path forward. We are adept at helping suppliers and clients work through complex issues, leveraging our experience and excellent relationships with the supplier community to help our clients get the attention and results they need to rebuild trust and move forward.

Trust doesn't just happen. But it can be rebuilt. And saving a supplier relationship—no matter how dire the current circumstances feel, or how green the grass on the other side of the fence looks—is almost always better than terminating and starting another.

Exiting Gracefully
That said, sometimes relationships are not meant to be, or have passed the point of being salvageable. In those cases, Pillsbury Global Sourcing can help you understand your exit options. From there, we can help you negotiate and execute the best exit possible, including avoiding large termination fees, minimizing operational risk, and effectuating graceful separations—even in extremely sensitive situations where the supplier is also your customer or partner.

With more than 20 years experience advising on outsourcing transactions and supplier relationships, we have seen "the good, the bad and the ugly" of complex, difficult situations. If your supplier relationship is in trouble, Pillsbury Global Sourcing can help you and your supplier restart the relationship or, if necessary, come to an optimal end.
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