Buyers should tread carefully, warns shoe repair bigwig

22 March 2010
“Business might be bad but this is no reason to turn your chief buyer into a Rottweiler.” So writes John Timpson, chief executive of the high street cobbler and key-cutter Timpson and a speaker at this year’s CIPS annual conference.   Timpson was responding to a question in his weekly management Q&A column in the Daily Telegraph. The questioner asks if making suppliers feel the pain is a good way of cutting costs, and asks Timpson how hard he has pushed suppliers recently.   His answer is unequivocal. “Even in difficult times, keep thinking a few years ahead and look after your key suppliers. You will need their support when the recovery comes,” he advises.   He urges buyers to drive a hard bargain with vendors, but once the deal is struck to stick to it. “Your suppliers are probably already suffering enough pain without having to share some of yours,” he warns.   “Buyers don’t need to be aggressive to get a good deal. When I was a buyer we built up buyer/supplier relationships on good manners and mutual trust. We consistently worked closely together with a number of key providers over a long period.”
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