Before going on an extended blog series on my “points system” for evaluating business opportunities, I want to talk about the importance of issuing prompt “no quotes.” Every company receives requests for quotes that are just not going to work for them. It might be for a product you don’t make or a part that won’t fit into your equipment. Whatever the reason for rejection, I strongly recommend issuing a formal “no quote” as soon as the decision is made, rather than just letting the reply date pass without notice.
There are a number of good reasons for this, both short-term and long-term. In the short-term scenario purchasing people talk to many people in the course of their daily business. Sometimes they broaden their usual quote request base at the suggestion of another supplier, co-worker, or their boss. It is embarrassing to get a call from a mutual supplier or service provider asking why you were rude to their friend after they got them to include you on a bidder’s list. It takes only seconds in this e-mail age to do the polite thing and issue a no quote.
Purchasing people are under great pressure to get projects moving, often because Sales and Engineering ate up all the lead time. Declining promptly gives them time to seek other bidders so they can comply with internal and external requirements for openness and fair dealing. Clear reasons why the project was declined will help them find more suitable vendors and to send your firm better opportunities.
Relationships can last a long time in the gear trade. I spoke with a forging salesman a few days ago with whom I first did business in 1983. Not every project I sent his way over those years fit his firm’s equipment, but I knew he would either get me a price promptly or send me in the right direction to a competitor. That is what responsible professionals do. You might not win them all, but if you treat people right you will get a lot more opportunities.