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Today’s issue … Dealing with Issues!


So who exactly is responsible for issues?  When it becomes a “he said – she said”, who needs to take control?

As multi-line reps, we are often thrown in the middle of issues.  We encourage our distributors to call us when you’re not getting the response you want (expect) from our suppliers and our suppliers usually call us when there is an issue with an order.  Unfortunately, these calls come after one, or both parties, have decided that the issue isn’t their fault.  You could probably call this a stalemate.

You decide …. A distributor places an order with artwork attached and has noted on the PO that additional artwork is pending.  The supplier accepts the order and begins the process of order entry.  Two days later the distributor sends the additional artwork and gets acknowledgement from the supplier. Life is good.  A proof is sent and the distributor OK’s the artwork.  Unfortunately, someone wasn’t paying close attention and the original artwork was sent for proof and this proof was OK’d.  After closer inspection (the next day), the distributor recognizes the mistake and contacts the supplier to make the change, which they do … but, now a $48 additional set-up has been included.

Needless to say, both parties clearly made a mistake.  The supplier submitted the original artwork on the proof and the distributor OK’d it.  So, who’s at fault?  The only real problem is the $48 art charge. The distributor doesn’t feel obligated to pay because of the original error and the supplier feels it is justified because the proof was accepted, even though it was the wrong art.  An oversight on both parts.

Let the phone calls begin!  The distributor is venting to us stating that “if they hadn’t used the wrong art this problem never would have happened”.  Valid point.  The supplier is saying that the proof was OK’d and they feel correct in charging to make the change. Also a valid point.  Can you see where this is going?

The supplier now contacts us to see how “WE” want to handle this issue.  WOW, we really didn’t have anything to do with the exchange of information, but the solution is in our hands.  The distributor is making it very clear that this is the last $48 the supplier will ever see from them and the supplier is set on their decision. REALLY?

Bob Black


toll-free:  1.888.839.7377  –  fax:  817.540.4809  –

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ruth Verver permalink
    06/17/2010 12:45 pm

    Nice Article, Bob!! Nothing ruffles feathers like the blame game!

    No one likes unaccepted charges on an order, especially right now. But if I approve a proof that isn’t right….that is my fault and I have to eat the extra charge! I’d be mad…but only at myself.

    As distributors we have to remember that we represent our customers and we have them as a back up to approve proofs as well. If we approve it on our own, we eat the mistake.

    All we can be responsible for is our own efforts. Proofs are done to catch errors that any of us could make. So as a distributor, we need to stop and take a little time when we get a proof and really make sure it is right…or we don’t deserve the business that our customers give us!

  2. Matt permalink
    06/29/2010 2:23 pm

    Going with Ruth on this one! Distributor’s fault….

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