March 04 2015
By: Terry L. Mathis
W. Edwards Deming urged organizations to establish relationships with suppliers and stick with them, even when they could save a few pennies by changing to another. He knew that the reduced price was usually a loss leader and that the changeover would cost more than the savings. We have not yet learned this lesson in safety. We farm out services and products to the lowest bidder, assuming the quality is the same and that continuity of provider has no value. We also assume that a consultant who specializes in one service, or a manufacturer who specializes in a particular product, is superior. These assumptions are not necessarily so.
The relationship with a provider can make them more valuable than price, product or service. Someone who really takes the time to understand your business can often tailor to your needs much better than a subject-matter expert who doesn't know or understand your organization. The relationship is often what gets you superior support, preferential treatment and customized solutions. Look for someone who cares for you, not just who gives you the lowest price. Quit trying to save pennies and concentrate on saving lives.
Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.