How to Efficiently Switch Vendors
In our previous article “Signs It’s Time to Switch Vendors”, we walked through several red flags that may trigger a discussion about switching vendors. So what do you do once you’ve decided to make a change? In this article, we’ll discuss several ways to make the transition between vendors as seamless as possible.
Develop an Action Plan
One of the major reasons why switching vendors has the reputation as being an onerous and difficult process is because of a lack of foresight and planning. As with any major change, it’s crucial to develop a plan prior to implementation. Doing so will allow you to anticipate any potential issues before they become disruptions to your business operations. Ideally, your new vendor will be part of this conversation. In the fleet management field, we work meticulously with all of our new clients to develop a comprehensive onboarding plan prior to ever ordering a vehicle. This collaborative approach allows both parties to brainstorm around any potential trouble points to create the most efficient and pain-free transition possible. Your dedication to planning and preparation will ultimately play a huge role in determining how smooth the implementation process goes for your company.
Commit to the Breakup
Breakups are always awkward and uncomfortable. Nobody likes delivering bad news, but if you’re intent on making a change, you’re eventually going to have to sever the relationship with your current vendor. Whether you do it by phone, email, or in person is up to you, however you should be prepared to the full-court press that is likely to follow. Your current vendor isn’t going to like losing business. They’ll ask you why you want to leave them, and give you a litany of excuses. They’ll likely want to have a meeting where they’ll bring in several “big wigs” to illustrate how important you are to them, and to show you that they’re serious about solving any problems you may have. You’ll lay out your frustrations and they’ll promise you the world. If you haven’t prepared for this situation, you may even begin to buy in to what they’re saying. You might think that maybe they deserve another chance. You might even agree to stay with them. The relationship may even improve for a period of time. However, things will ultimately revert to how they were. You’ll grow frustrated again, and the cycle will continue. So how do you avoid falling into that trap?
The best way to initiate change is to stand firm in your convictions. Remember all of the frustration and pain that led you to want to make a change in the first place. Realize that your company deserves better, and commit to the change.
Prepare Your Employees
The topic of switching vendors is often a discussion that’s held primarily at the managerial level. While employee input may be sought, ultimately the decision will come from above. Yet often these decisions have very little effect on the day-to-day lives of those making them, with front-line employees being the ones most affected. With that being the case, it’s important to properly prepare your employees for the switch. Hold meetings to discuss the change and allow employees to ask questions. Hold training sessions on any new software or processes that accompany the switch. Give them ample time to acclimate to the new way of doing things so that they don’t feel as if they were just thrown into the deep end. The easier you can make the transition on your employees, the smoother the changeover will ultimately be.