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Old 01-28-2020, 07:07 AM
 
727 posts, read 574,978 times
Reputation: 1189

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirDroz View Post
Hello,

I have recently received somewhat of a promotion at work. I am not the manager of my department, but I have been asked to be the interim leader until we find a new permanent manager. They may extend the permanent offer to me after they post the job and interview some candidates. But in the mean time, I am tasked with running things.

About 1 month ago someone from our purchasing department placed a order by mistake. It was for about $10,000 worth of equipment we don't need. The previous manager who just retired talked to the vendor it was ordered from and the sales rep was resistant to taking the items back and that was the last I heard of it.

I work for a hospital which is a non-profit. The attitude at this place about costs is pretty relaxed. So far, nobody in administration seems to be concerned about the $10,000 worth of stuff sitting on the shelf that was ordered by mistake.

That same sales rep is coming in this upcoming week to discuss a different matter. I am thinking about bringing this up to him again, but would like to do so in a conducive way for everybody. Honestly it kind of irked me to hear that he didn't want to take the items back as our relationship with each other is fairly new. Even though these costs don't directly come out of my paycheck, nor have I specifically been tasked with dealing with this issue, I recognize that the ridiculous costs of healthcare are directly related to waste and abuse such as this situation.

Would you all push the issue when the sales rep comes in? If so, what would be a good way to go about it?
I'm with the vendor probably. It isn't the vendor's fault you guys made the mistake. Maybe he already replenished his supply of that particular item and now will be oversupplied with a slow moving item because of your company's error. If he were to take the item back, he should be compensated in some way for the error on your company's part. The expectation that he just take it all back is too much. Of course if it is already in writing that he has that type of return policy then he is obligated to do so.
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Old 01-28-2020, 09:13 AM
 
5,120 posts, read 3,412,922 times
Reputation: 10386
Quote:
Originally Posted by ticking View Post
I'm with the vendor probably. It isn't the vendor's fault you guys made the mistake. Maybe he already replenished his supply of that particular item and now will be oversupplied with a slow moving item because of your company's error. If he were to take the item back, he should be compensated in some way for the error on your company's part. The expectation that he just take it all back is too much. Of course if it is already in writing that he has that type of return policy then he is obligated to do so.
I agree with this. Plus, OP, you are not in purchasing. You are not involved with the contracts, vendor agreements, terms, payments, return authorizations, etc. It's been over a month. I would be very upset if one of my employees took it upon themselves to ask a vendor's rep to take a return. Focus on doing your interim job well, not going outside your department.
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Old 01-28-2020, 09:26 AM
 
1,580 posts, read 657,327 times
Reputation: 5349
I also vote for trying to get a return or an exchange. There is no harm in asking.
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Old 01-31-2020, 06:04 AM
 
Location: From the Middle East of the USA
1,019 posts, read 745,370 times
Reputation: 1056
Did the purchasing agent/staff enter into a formal contract agreement with this supplier? Did they receive a purchase order number? Normally, when entering into purchase agreements there are contract stipulations on both sides...The vendor should take the items back by issuing a return authorization. I would definitely bring this up at your next meeting.
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Old 01-31-2020, 06:33 AM
 
80,314 posts, read 78,652,143 times
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irrelevant if it is formal or not .... as a wholesaler for 40 years i can tell you unless the company issues specific instructions to the vendor such as no releases without a po number or only the following personal may order there is no formal order contract most of the time. certain items are just not going to be returnable as well once ordered .
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:28 AM
 
Location: WY
5,844 posts, read 4,106,300 times
Reputation: 6832
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaraG View Post
.....................Plus, OP, you are not in purchasing. You are not involved with the contracts, vendor agreements, terms, payments, return authorizations, etc. It's been over a month. I would be very upset if one of my employees took it upon themselves to ask a vendor's rep to take a return. Focus on doing your interim job well, not going outside your department.
This.

Focus on your own department, run it as efficiently as possible, point out to your supervisor(s) what steps or oversight you have in place to ensure efficiency within your own department, and leave it at that.

One other thing - the OP made the observation twice that this non-profit hospital does not have tight controls over its expenses. Is there some kind of committee that he/she could become a member of to aid in strengthening controls overall?

One last thought - small non-profit hospitals are closing all over the country. $10,000 here and $10,000 there, and it adds up over time. Hospitals can't keep flushing money down the drain and stay afloat. Keep your head up in general and pay attention of any warning signs that your facility is in severe financial distress.
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Old 02-03-2020, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Kirkland, WA (Metro Seattle)
4,629 posts, read 3,759,378 times
Reputation: 8903
Quote:
Originally Posted by AirDroz View Post
I work for a hospital which is a non-profit. The attitude at this place about costs is pretty relaxed. So far, nobody in administration seems to be concerned about the $10,000 worth of stuff sitting on the shelf that was ordered by mistake.

That same sales rep is coming in this upcoming week to discuss a different matter. I am thinking about bringing this up to him again, but would like to do so in a conducive way for everybody. Honestly it kind of irked me to hear that he didn't want to take the items back as our relationship with each other is fairly new. Even though these costs don't directly come out of my paycheck, nor have I specifically been tasked with dealing with this issue, I recognize that the ridiculous costs of healthcare are directly related to waste and abuse such as this situation.

Would you all push the issue when the sales rep comes in? If so, what would be a good way to go about it?
How I would do it is beyond the scope of a few paragraphs, so won't bother with the details. In broad strokes, in any business relationship, there are near term and long term gains in what I'd definitely call "symbiosis." Where I work we have a hardware vendor who is local. I've seen the invoices to these people, we are a major account. In fact I used to work for that vendor, they are a little shady but I was outside thier main revenue stream and it was three good years by and large. I could see them pulling something like that, if say we ordered the wrong routers for $100K /each vs. the smaller @$25K each. Any resistance to taking them back, I'd talk first about 1) how difficult would it really be to work with Cisco on that? 2) I'd allude to our great relationship with (other hardware vendor), for upcoming, with a wink and a nod. And I'd mean it. And they'd know it, especially that rep trying to make his numbers for the month.

It's all about leverage. If you have some, it's not that hard to ask others to play ball to cover minor errors. $10K is not that much product to a vendor on a major or intermediate account. Small store, it's a lot of course, but really...he should think about the future. If someone really thought they'd screw with me and play hardball? I'd play it right back, say "well clearly you don't want to have a reasonable discussion right now. I have other things to do today." And I'd WALK out, on the spot. Next order would be from a competitor. I'd dangle the one after that, ask if they'd like to talk about it?

There would be quid pro quo once that salesman played ball. I'd find a way to hook him up with two Seahawks tickets, probably. There is budget for morale somewhere, after all.

Art of the Deal, man. Look what the President did wiping that terrorist "general" off the map month or so ago, in Iraq, via one drone and one missile: 1) we know where you are 2) we know what you're doing 3) play with the bull, you might get the horns, proportionately...moving forward. Deals have to have credible force of action behind them.
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Old 02-03-2020, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
4,882 posts, read 2,195,396 times
Reputation: 7915
Quote:
Originally Posted by AirDroz View Post
I work for a hospital which is a non-profit. The attitude at this place about costs is pretty relaxed. So far, nobody in administration seems to be concerned

nor have I specifically been tasked with dealing with this issue,

Would you all push the issue when the sales rep comes in? If so, what would be a good way to go about it?

Let me cut out all the do good stuff. You ordered $10K of stuff you didn't need. Dude messed up. Mistakes happen seems to be the attitude. Agent that did it is a kid of someone on the Board for all you know and untouchable....or the vendor is. Point is, you don't know and this is new for you.


Purchasing should strive for clarity and execution above all else. How do you know what to buy? Are the right people familiar with the requisition process? Is the requisition process efficient? Is the requisition process clear as to what, quantity, where to go, requirements needed and when to go back for more information from purchasing to the requisitioner? What types of things are being requisitioned and do they all need the same process? How are purchase orders to the vendor generated and approved? Does receiving know what's coming in? Do they have a process for receiving? Who's inspecting items? When is your inventory/not inventory showing up as received and ready to pay....how is that information getting routed back to AP and vouch the items? How are disputes resolved?


That's what you need to be working on understanding in your first month in all honesty. Not picking fights with vendors. If you ordered a 2002 Honda Civic and they delivered, that's a good vendor.



Use the $10K to understand where the point of failure was. Why was the wrong stuff ordered? Stretching your suppliers for a bigger band-aid and flexibility to cover internal mistakes is hardly the direction I'd want someone taking the company for my purchasing function. Understanding why it happened....yes, I'd like to know.
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