How to deal with monopolistic suppliers

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by JoshR, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. JoshR

    JoshR
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    I don't want to get into too many specifics so I'm trying to be a bit vague. I work in the construction distribution business. One particular market for us is dominated by a single supplier. They have been the gorilla in our market for decades. We've gotten tired of their overbearing ways and have recently started partnering with a competitor of theirs. We've been having some success in undermining their business. They have now begun to retaliate against us by harassing/threatening engineers to not accept our products and just doing everything in their power to stop us from being able to finish jobs. I'm just curious if there are any ideas out there for dealing with this.
     
  2. pete.mcal

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    It's probably not what you want to hear but you're either going to have to join forces and use them as your supplier again or engage in a drawn out PR battle with them. The battle might be to shine light on their practices, reduce their image somehow or simply to try and defend your own image.

    If they have monopolistic power and supply to most people in the industry (and are as pushy and bully-like as you say) then they're likely to have a lot of influence and leverage over people you engage in business with. It's a tough one, in that whatever route you take to tackle the problem there will be sacrifices and wounds.
     
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    #2 pete.mcal, Jan 31, 2013
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  3. PS9

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    Hire a good legal team; short of things like sabotage and other things you'd end up in prison for, that's about all you can do. Document everything they do, record when possible (it's not always legal to record phone calls and such), and build a case against them. It shouldn't be that hard as harassment and threats are obviously illegal but you would need to have some proof and you have to be extremely careful not to harass them back. Harassment laws are exceedingly vague to the point where it's almost "I think you harassed me, so you did." sort of thing. - I'd try and get them on threats first as it's easiest to prove. You can also try loss of income if you figure out a way to prove it.
     
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  4. JoshR

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    The supplier is only a monopolistic power because there hasn't been anyone around to really challenge them in our market. My company has hated dealing with them for over 30 years. In the last year however, another supplier who has just as much capability at the national level, has finally stepped in our market to try and over throw them. They approached us and we agreed to work with them. They were a little bit arrogant in their approach and we won a number of high level visibility jobs from under them. If they weren't harassing the engineers then I wouldn't care about them at all. unfortunately, because of their market dominance for the last 30 years, they are now trying to use their influence to prevent us from being able to finish this one job.

    Would filing a BBB complaint do anything?
     
  5. Fergal

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    It may be worth a try, in my experience no one likes to be reported to the authorities and if they see that you are prepared to stand up to them, they may be less willing to interfere with your business. Perhaps you can think of other trade or government organisations that you could report them to.

    Have you spoken to senior management at the company concerned about your complaints? It might be worth doing this because it is possible they don't approve of what their management and staff are doing. Again it would show the company that you are not prepared to take it lying down.

    What form has that harassment taken?
     
  6. scifi

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    The day monopoly business starts domination, It indicates that their end is coming soon....Customer service is the priority in any business....
     

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