By Aditya in Experiences
Updated 17:53 IST Jan 11, 2019

Midway through my PG course, there was a guest lecture by the supply chain head of a big American multinational company. He was an excellent speaker and needless to say a master of his domain. Having worked his way to the top of his department through 25 years of service, he had first hand experience of dealing with scheduling, purchase, costing, quality, logistics, and all other aspects of his field. We all listened to him with rapt attention and immensely benefited from the same. There was one subject though that he spoke very passionately and it certainly resonated with the audience. Here is a very brief summary of what he said, regarding “supplier selection”.


“In our organization, we rank our suppliers in four grades. Grade C being the lowest, B a bit better than that and A being the best. The matrix for this grading is based primarily on time, cost and quality with other parameters such as priority, innovation, etc. adding additional weightage. Let’s just say that a supplier having above 95% on time delivery, having 5% variation with our should-costing and having less than 5% rejection stands at grade C. You can do the math for the grades above.”

“However, there is the fourth and top most grade that stands above the Cs, Bs and As. We call them ‘partners’. Now these are not partners in the legal sense of the term. These are more than that. For a supplier to be at the partner level, he has to be at the top in terms of the time-cost-quality matrix, that’s a given. To be a partner, one has to give us unshakable priority, show flexibility with dynamic scheduling and contribute with continuous improvement and innovation, that also comes along with the game. There is something else that qualifies one to be partner, something over and above the tangible parameters mentioned earlier. For a supplier to be a partner, one has to possess a set of “matching values”. 

“We believe in doing ethical business, even at the cost of bottom line. We do not tolerate gender or racial discrimination, we have zero tolerance towards that. We pledge to be conscious of health, safety and environment. These are just some of our values that go beyond profits and shareholder value add. If the supplier believes and has a proven history of adopting such values then he has a possibility of being a “partner”.


I came out of the lecture hall deep in thought. Every word he said made sense. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I knew that one day, this would define and drive my decisions to a great extent. I didn’t realize it then that these theories do not limit themselves to work alone. These words are not fancy texts meant to impress a certain audience or for business conduct alone. These are relevant in our day to day lives as well.

A few days back, a friend of mine was talking about meeting the prospective spouse. I asked, what is it that you look for? Education, income, hobbies and the usual answers came along. At that time, it stuck me, do we really look for values while selecting our life partner? Or are we stuck with the basic matrix? Moreover have we really defined values ourselves that are essential to our being? Cause unless we do, there is no way we can expect the same from others.

Selecting a life-partner is lot more critical than selecting a supplier. Please don’t leave it to the mundane matrix. Select right values, select wisely and you shall live happily ever after.  

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