Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 17, Issue 22;   May 31, 2017: Unresponsive Suppliers: III

Unresponsive Suppliers: III

by

When suppliers have a customer orientation, we can usually depend on them. But government suppliers are a special case.
Cargo containers at a port of entry

Cargo containers at a port of entry

We usually regard the individual suppliers in a supply chain as having a commercial orientation, which can motivate them to please their customers. One clear exception is the large entity that dominates its markets, because such entities are often less susceptible to this mechanism. Another exception perhaps overlooked and more commonly encountered is government. Organizations that need approvals, licenses, permits, or information must sometimes wait for service or for responses from local or national governments. And when government action is delayed, project schedules can suffer.

The obvious items include patent grants or drug and medical device approvals. But let's consider three of the more mundane items, which are more numerous and therefore more likely to affect projects.

Passage through customs
Many organizations send equipment across national borders to support partner organizations that perform project work under strategic agreements. For example, if software is developed in one country and tested in another, the testing organization might require a validated test environment, often including a replica of all or part of the hardware of the finished product. If the developing organization sends that replica to the testing organization, the replica must pass through customs in the tester's country, which can take time.
Shipping the item well in advance of the required receipt date can help avoid delays in passing through customs. To determine in advance how long the process takes, send a dummy replica — one that's incomplete, obsolete, or in need of repair. Measure how long the passage takes. Use that data to determine the latest safe ship date for the real thing.
Export licensing
Exporting high-tech items can be just as tricky as sending them through customs at their destination. The laws of the country where the technology is developed might regulate what kinds of devices can be exported, on the basis of their destinations. These regulations might affect more than mere hardware. Do not assume that hardcopy documents are safe.
Begin the Exporting high-tech items can be
just as tricky as sending them
through customs at their destination
export license approval process as early as possible, and actually test it, again with a dummy replica. This test can also expose errors and confusion in accompanying export documentation.
Local construction permits
Some projects involve construction or modification of facilities. Even digging a trench for an Internet connection can require a permit from local authorities.
Risk managers who identify permit-related delay risks early in the planning process are more likely to have success by enlisting the assistance of senior managers and their legal teams in advance. Beware though: if the response of senior managers is "Let us know when you encounter a problem," their assistance might come too late. If they do respond that way, apply for the permits immediately to expose the delay as soon as possible.

Examine your project plans to determine whether government suppliers are lurking in your supply chain. Apply techniques like those above to limit the risk of government-induced delay. Go to top Top  Next issue: The Knowledge One-Upmanship Game  Next IssueFirst in this series 

303 Tips for Virtual and Global TeamsIs your organization a participant in one or more global teams? Are you the owner/sponsor of a global team? Are you managing a global team? Is everything going well, or at least as well as any project goes? Probably not. Many of the troubles people encounter are traceable to the obstacles global teams face when building working professional relationships from afar. Read 303 Tips for Virtual and Global Teams to learn how to make your global and distributed teams sing. Order Now!

Your comments are welcome

Would you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenbbloDKkoHZendcIIner@ChacoAnBHdEwGazggeCYoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.

About Point Lookout

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.

Point Lookout is a free weekly email newsletter. Browse the archive of past issues. Subscribe for free.

Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.

Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.

Related articles

More articles on Conflict Management:

A tournamentQuestioning Questions
In meetings and other workplace discussions, questioning is a common form of conversational contribution. Questions can be expensive, disruptive, and counterproductive. For most exchanges, there is a better way.
The Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal, showing their guide wallsIn the Groove
Under stress, we sometimes make choices that we later regret. And we wonder, "Will I ever learn?" Fortunately, the problem usually isn't a failure to learn. Changing just takes practice.
Professor John Walker Gregory and Sir Clements MarkhamObstructionist Tactics: II
Teams and groups depend for their success on highly effective cooperation between their members. If even one person is unable or unwilling to cooperate, the team's performance is limited. Here's Part II of a little catalog of tactics.
Stainless steel cutleryNew Ideas: Experimentation
In collaborative problem solving, teams sometimes perform experiments to help choose a solution. These experiments sometimes lead to trouble. What are the troubles and how can we avoid them?
Fog offshore near Cabrillo National Monument, CaliforniaClearing Conflict Fog
At times, groups can become so embroiled in destructive conflict that conventional conflict resolution becomes ineffective. How does this happen? What can we do about it?

See also Conflict Management and Project Management for more related articles.

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

Children playing a computer gameComing July 18: High Falutin' Goofy Talk: III
Workplace speech and writing sometimes strays into the land of pretentious but overused business phrases, which I like to call high falutin' goofy talk. We use these phrases with perhaps less thought than they deserve, because they can be trite or can evoke indecorous images. Here's Part III of a collection of phrases and images to avoid. Available here and by RSS on July 18.
Office equipment — or is it office toys?And on July 25: Exploiting Functional Fixedness: II
A cognitive bias called functional fixedness causes difficulty in recognizing new uses for familiar things. It also makes for difficulty in recognizing devious uses of everyday behaviors. Here's Part II of a catalog of deviousness based on functional fixedness. Available here and by RSS on July 25.

Coaching services

I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenfctFYkYDzWemBlyqner@ChacocGxfmCulRXxaefUoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.

Get the ebook!

Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:

Reprinting this article

Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info

Public seminars

The Race to the South Pole: The Power of Agile Development
On 14The Race to the Pole: An Application of Agile Development December 1911, four men led by Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole. Thirty-five days later, Robert F. Scott and four others followed. Amundsen had won the race to the pole. Amundsen's party returned to base on 26 January 1912. Scott's party perished. As historical drama, why this happened is interesting enough. Lessons abound. Among the more important lessons are those that demonstrate the power of the agile approach to project management and product development. Read more about this program. Here's a date for this program:

The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
Many The Power Affect: How We Express Personal Powerpeople who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.

Follow Rick

Send email or subscribe to one of my newsletters Follow me at LinkedIn Follow me at Twitter, or share a tweet Follow me at Google+ or share a post Subscribe to RSS feeds Subscribe to RSS feeds
The message of Point Lookout is unique. Help get the message out. Please donate to help keep Point Lookout available for free to everyone.
Go For It: Sometimes It's Easier If You RunBad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? Learn what we can do when we love the work but not the job.
303 Tips for Virtual and Global TeamsLearn how to make your virtual global team sing.
101 Tips for Managing ChangeAre you managing a change effort that faces rampant cynicism, passive non-cooperation, or maybe even outright revolt?
101 Tips for Effective MeetingsLearn how to make meetings more productive — and more rare.
Exchange your "personal trade secrets" — the tips, tricks and techniques that make you an ace — with other aces, anonymously. Visit the Library of Personal Trade Secrets.