Saratoga Springs - As you can imagine, the essential organs we become when we start our workday are in the voluntary function group. We are the movers and shakers, the decision-makers, the worker bees, making cognitive moves to help meet our goals with a focus on growth and improvement. We are the biceps lifting our organization up; we are the quadriceps and hamstrings moving it forward.
What about the essential organs with involuntary functions? Those organs would include internet access, telecommunications, office technology, and even insurance coverage. Much like the heart and the lungs, these essential organs need to function with neither thought nor concern. Your internet access and telecommunications need to pump data in and out with strength and efficiency. Your office technology needs to send, receive, and interpret information in concert with a myriad of other internal organs. Your insurance coverages need to envelop the entire organism, protecting it from outside threats and mitigating potential damage should those threats penetrate the outer layer.
Of course, some may say they wind up with concerns about the organs with involuntary functions. Sometimes they don’t function as they should, causing concern. Sometimes they cause complete failure. Unlike our voluntary group, which is managed internally, our involuntary group is most often managed externally, by our vendors. This is the key reason we should know not only how to find a reliable vendor, but also find one that aligns with our goals, allowing us to focus on growth and improvement.
The answer to that knowledge lies within three pillars: reliability, innovation, and value. Each of these pillars is easily definable in a broad sense, but let’s do a deeper dive as they relate to vendors:
Reliability covers so many different facets of what a vendor brings to the table. Have they taken the time to learn about your specific organization and its goals? Have they delivered what was promised? If you have a question or concern, are they easy to contact? There is one key factor, which unifies these facets, and more - open, honest, and professional communication. It’s fairly easy to evaluate the reliability of a vendor you currently work with or have previously worked with. However, if you are evaluating a new vendor, be sure to ask for testimonials and references. Any vendor worth their salt will be more than happy to show you what their other clients’ experiences have been.
Oftentimes, when people think of innovation it revolves around the concept of “keeping up with the Joneses” – having the latest and greatest. However, when it comes to vetting vendors, innovation should focus primarily on how the latest and greatest applies to your organization, its operation, and its goals. All too often, vendors will dangle a shiny new toy in front of their clients, but is it applicable? Will it help create efficiency and increase the value of the product or service being provided? So, when it comes to innovation, two questions must be answered by the vendor – what and why? What does the vendor bring to the table, keeping their offering ahead of their specific industry’s curve? Why is that offering applicable to your specific organization?
Value can quickly turn into the most convoluted of the three pillars because it tends to heavily rely on perception. However, there is an easy equation, which can replace perception with logic: cost vs time saved. The best way to explain this equation is with a simple example:
- A vendor presents a solution, which proveably saves you and your employees an average of 5 hours every week/20 hours every month and costs $300 more per month than your current solution. If your office’s average salary is $50,000 per year, the average hourly labor cost is approximately $25. The time savings of 20 hours per month translates to a labor cost savings of $500 per month. With an increased investment of $300 per month, your organization has a potential net savings of $200 per month, on average. Since each hour of labor should have an associated profit, and since you and your employees will have more time to focus on the mission of your organization, that net savings has a very likely potential to increase.
Our brains can quickly focus on an offer put in front of us showing immediate cost savings – we want to see $300 less per month instead of $300 more. However, using this equation will help lift the veil and show the true value of what’s being presented.
At the end of the day, we all want our businesses to find success and thrive. We want that living organism to be continuously happy and healthy. Since our vendors are integral to those desires, we should always have our finger on the pulse of how they are keeping our involuntary organs functioning with neither thought nor concern.