Supplier performance versus the Trojan horse paradigm

What does the Trojan Horse Paradigm have to do with supplier performance?

When starting a tender for the first time, there is a good chance that you will find something that will not result in the best supplier performance. A fearful and hostile attitude of the project team…

All the suppliers are bad and are cheating on you before your very eyes!

This conviction results in the project team ‘sealing’ everything in the tender documents in order to prevent poor supplier performance in the future. By setting minimum requirements, no more space is left to the supplier. The effect on the other side of the table is that suppliers, logically, respond to all requirements in the affirmative. They promise everything to get the job done.

The Trojan Horse Paradigm

Compare it to the Trojan Horse. On one side of the wall, the supplier who presents himself as more appealing than he actually is, and on the other side, the client with the fear of not knowing what he is getting.

This mechanism is self-sustaining. The more fear of being cheated, the more fear of uncertainty about what is coming in. This leads to more rules, requirements and conditions. And to increasingly attractive offers from suppliers. A bad experience in the past with lagging supplier performance is causing people to go in the wrong direction more and more. Had experience with disputes about extra work? Or with projects that have raised legal issues, cost an awful lot and failed to deliver the expected quality? There is a good chance that the client will draw up even more rules in a subsequent tender, in an attempt to have more grip and control and to prevent poor supplier performance the next time.

But what do we actually want as a client? Every client is looking for a supplier who is involved, who feels responsible, who is proactive and who thinks about what he is doing. All this is in the interest of the result for the client. So why don’t you, as a client, give it the space it needs to be implemented? Room for supplier performance.

More rules, more conditions and more demands are increasingly driving us in the wrong direction.  In fact, the greater the chance of contracting the wrong supplier!

You get what you ask for. Pure logic

It’s simple logic. You get the supplier you ask for. Suppliers who feel happy in an atmosphere where they don’t have to take responsibility, don’t have to think and don’t have to be responsible for the result will be happy to bid for a tender that is full of requirements, conditions and rules. “You ask, we provide” is the adage of such a supplier.

Tenders that include as few requirements and conditions as possible and that leave as much room as possible for the supplier will deter those suppliers and attract parties who feel comfortable in a situation where they can take responsibility.

Break the circle: give suppliers room to act.

How a client behaves and what approach he takes can be seen in the suppliers of that client. Therefore, as a client or contracting authority, take a look at your suppliers. Are these the suppliers you want? Do they feel responsible for what they have to do? Are they proactive? Or is it a continuous struggle about supplier performance, do you have all kinds of additional discussions, does the contract have to be taken out of the drawer regularly?

Then dare to break that vicious circle! Then move in the opposite direction at the next tender or purchase and include fewer rules and conditions. Give your suppliers room. You’ll see that other suppliers will surface.

Would you like to know more about how the Best Value Approach will lead to better cooperation with suppliers and better results of your projects? Please contact us.


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