Building good relationships, and managing disputes and interpersonal conflicts.
The three key factors for successful supplier or provider relationships are:
Aim to create an environment where each party:
Relationships develop over time, but you also need to actively build trust, commitment and communication by:
In the contract management plan (or Outcome Agreement Management Plan):
Sometimes relationships deteriorate, or there are disagreements about what the parties expect of each other. These disagreements are almost always caused by poor communication or misunderstanding rather than deliberate intent.
You can prevent most disputes by getting together regularly to discuss any problems and agree on solutions. If you have any concerns about your supplier's performance, raise it with them as soon as possible.
If a dispute does arise, try to resolve it directly with your supplier. If you can't solve it together, you may need to escalate it.
A potential escalation process is outlined below. You can vary the number of business days for escalation.
If escalation doesn't help, the contract should include a process for dispute resolution, such as mediation. It's really important to speak to your legal team if things get to this point. Mediation could result in a remedy plan.
A remedy plan details the resolution to contract problems or a formal dispute. It records:
If the problem can't be remedied, suspension or termination of the contract may be necessary.
Going to court should only ever be a last resort. It is costly, slow and happens in public.