Dilemma: Delivery dates

17 August 2019

Tags: Customers, Suppliers

This dilemma addresses issues of workplace pressures, delivery of work and reputation.

The pressure is on at a regional office of Prospex plc. They are already well behind target on their sales targets for this year and there is a rumour that they will be merged with a more successful office further North with subsequent redundancies unless things improve. The staff know they have to win a contract for supplying high-density translucent cladding for a major new storage centre being built at a local business park. 

“This tender looks good; I think we have a good chance,” says Jim, Head of the Regional Office. “The only snag I can see are the delivery dates. They’re at least three weeks too long. Can’t we do anything about that?”

“It’s because the main ingredient has to come from a firm in Eastern Europe,” says Polly, Head of Purchasing. “They’re having a few problems at the moment, and can’t guarantee an earlier delivery date.”

“Well, we can presume that delays on the construction site could be expected; I’m sure we could square the main contractor if the cladding delivery was late. Let’s put in a more optimistic delivery date.”

Jeff, the Head of Sales, objected. “Prospex’s reputation in the trade would be jeopardised if we don’t deliver on time. It would reflect badly throughout the Group, not to mention making my job harder in the future. Our product is much better than those of competitors – that’s what will win us the tender.”

“Look, Jeff, all our jobs are on the line here,” said Jim. “Order me a bike – we’ve got to courier over the tender to the contractor. And we’ll put in the revised dates.”

What would you advise Jeff to do?