I’ve been reading and writing a lot over the past month, just not much on my blog.  Most reading about organizational purpose.  In this case, not just customer purpose, but a higher calling to benefit mankind.  Certainly, we want to respond to customers and create an environment that they want to engage and embrace.

However, there are other elements in every system that need nurturing.  One overlooked area is the treatment of vendors.  Many organizations focus on the customer and improvement, but treat their vendors like, well . . . dog poop.

Pounding the vendor for the lowest price, they don’t become partners, instead vendors become a whipping boy.  A whipping boy was a young boy assigned to an equally young prince and when the prince did something wrong the whipping boy got the punishment.  If you have been a vendor long enough, you will find yourself a whipping boy for unevolved organizations.

This is usually driven by management fear of not hitting their numbers.  Sometimes the hierarchy is used as the next rung down gets the blame.  More convenient though is an outsider that can be blamed . . . a whipping boy.  Deflecting blame to vendors has become an art and a science.

All that hard work to impress customers, but you don’t pay your vendor in the promised timeframe which negates all the goodwill you accomplish.  The system is out-of-balance and treating one better than other can only result in long-term consequences.  Vendors have other relationships and influences that can influence future customers.  What goes around come around.

Treating vendors fairly is always a good policy.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work.  Read his column at Quality Digest and his articles for CustomermanagementIQ.com. Reach him on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/TriBabbittor LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/trippbabbitt.