If you can’t earn the business maybe you can buy it?

June 18, 2010

There have been a number of recent events where one of the Direct _BS Branches have tried to purchase business that they could not earn. I thought I would share a couple of them with you.

One prestigious Ivy League University dismissed a _BS bid because it was “too low”. You heard me correctly, they came in too low on their bid. The Purchasing Committee felt that they could not possibly provide the type of quality service that they were looking for at the ridiculously low price that they bid. They were right, and I respect them for having the balls to call _BS out.

In another deal, a college in Boston accepted  a large donation from “the Vendor” to get the Service contract. Now they would not publicly make the connection between the two, but off the record we were told that this was the key factor. In fact it was suggested that we should make a similar “contribution” as well. We chose not to bid. I know integrity is old fashion but it helps me sleep at night.

The final recent example came from a woman from a mid west company that emailed me after reading this blog. She said that she was on the MFD Purchasing Committee that was looking at Ricoh or Pitney Bowes to provide all the MFDs (and FM) for all of their locations. We ended up speaking on the phone and she told me that Ricoh was offering them a substantial check, and a very low bid price. She said that the Ricoh Rep was even bragging that “they were not making any money on this deal”. She couldn’t understand how any buisness could stay in business operating this way. She said isn’t that illegal dumping? I responded that it sounds like it to me.

As we spoke I asked her if Ricoh was currently serving any of her companies equipment. She said yes, a few, but she said that the service had been very poor. To which I replied THAT is why they are trying to buy your business, because they haven’t earned the right (by giving you good service) to ask you for a fair price at a reasonable margin. She also said that Pitney Bowes had a good reputation for servicing their account. I said that is why their proposal costs more than Ricoh’s, because good service costs more than poor service.

So if you can’t (or haven’t) earned the business, maybe you can buy it? Or better yet maybe you can find another line of work, and let those of us who can do this job and make a reasonable profit do our job.

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh


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