Monday Morning Monologue: Are your engineers buying the parts they design?

Good Morning!

Would you classify your organizations’ product development buying as strategic or transactional? Are your buyers simply sending out requests for quotes and placing work at the lowest cost supplier? How is cost defined? Are your engineers doing the buying?

We’ll get into the other questions on another day, but this morning dive into why it’s not recommended for engineers to buy the parts they design.

Salespeople love engineers.

Engineers are easy targets. I know… I was once an easy target. Sales professionals spend a substantial amount of time developing relationships/ friendships with engineers in an effort to do one thing.

Get on the print.

The print in most organizations is gospel. You get on the print, you’re golden. Suppliers get on the print before pricing is even discussed. The engineers are indirectly buying the parts. There’s only one thing worse… engineers buying the parts.

Most engineers aren’t trained in negotiation. I attended a negotiation seminar shortly after moving to purchasing. After the first day the presenter asked a bit about my background… after learning I spent my career to that point in engineering, he said something along the lines of “You will be successful if you just shut up! Engineers love solving problems and don’t realize they’re giving the salesperson the story of the problem…… and the VALUE of what they’re selling.”

This stuck with me. Often times, I was helping the supplier set the price based on value, not the cost of the part.

If you’re a small organization where employees wear a lot of hats, I’d recommend the engineers not wear the buying hat… and if it can be avoided, refrain from a manufacturers name on the print. Stick to specifications wherever possible.

Have a great week!

#strategicsourcing #purchasing #negotiation #productdevelopment

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