Man out of office on a beach holding a surfboard

My Supplier Said to Me: I’m Out of Office Next Week

On the eighth (work) day of Christmas my supplier said to me “I’m out of office all next week. Could we wait till I’m back in the office to have this conversation?”

A sure-fire way to experience a quality issue is to press for a quick resolution before key people and stakeholders are out for a week on personal business or vacation. Everyone likes solving problems efficiently. Nobody likes having to wait through a week of dead time because somebody is out of the office. 

So clearly the best option is to rush into a resolution before your supplier’s leave starts, right? Wrong. When resolutions are rushed mistakes are made, and both parties involved own the errors that are produced. 

The supplier’s people value their vacation time just as much as you do. It’s important. We work to live, not the other way around. However, when someone starts to become more excited about getting out of there for a week, their mind is not on the quality of their work anymore. If you don’t believe, me ask every high school senior in the United States of America. It’s normal. 

Expediency without focus leads to carelessness which leads to accidents and quality issues that can cost time, money, and sometimes blood on the shop floor (God forbid). These issues can even further delay your batch when the rework requires rework.

As the old saying goes, anything worth doing is worth doing correctly. To insist that your supplier rush around at the last minute before their vacation to fix your issue does not do anything but cause quality problems and potentially strain the relationship you have with that supplier.

If your resolution is not an emergency just wait. Send your RMA after the supplier returns to the office. Your supplier will come back from their leave and then they will resolve your problem with a much higher level of quality, and you will be much happier with the end result.