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In this series, we are revealing the hidden needs of Glass Suppliers, so that FMCG customers can give the glass makers what they really value, in return for the best possible pricing. Today our countdown moves to Need Number 6 – “Exclusivity”.

Hello & welcome to Episode 3 of Margin Bites – In this series, we are revealing the hidden needs of Glass Suppliers, so that FMCG customers can give the glass makers what they really value, in return for the best possible pricing.

Today our countdown moves to Need Number 6 – “Exclusivity”.

Now, at the risk of sounding dramatic, I know many procurement people will feel decidedly uncomfortable at the very whisper of the “E” word. It generally conjures up feelings that many have been trying to bury for years. Exclusivity sounds like commitment, which could sound like marriage, or being tied to the one person (pardon, I mean supplier) for the rest of your life. But fear not. When it comes to negotiating a new glass supply agreement, your willingness to give-your-custom in an act of “supplier exclusively”, will unlock a treasure trove of benefits. And here’s why.

The heart of any glass supplier is that big smouldering furnace in the centre of the factory, and a glass furnace is like an active volcano. It is fiery, fierce and cannot be shut down easily. If it is producing lava or glass, you better be ready to pack it off into bottles and containers. These things are not like a can machine or a paper box production line. They can take three weeks to turn off and another 3 weeks to turn back on. Just think about what that same amount of downtime would mean in your own business! So, the mantra adopted by the Glass Sales team is “fill the machine”. This means sell enough glass to absorb the capacity. This is not an easy thing to do as no customer can guarantee just how many glass bottles, they will need in an any given year. However, what the glass sales team aim to achieve is customer exclusivity & it plays out like this “ We don’t know how much you’ll need but let’s agree that however much it is – we get to supply it ALL !”

I accept that giving exclusivity to anyone is rarefied air these days. Dating shows on TV make it commonplace to have multiple partners. Sports heroes jump teams regularly & when it comes to B2B supply, hardened procurement experts swear by having at least two suppliers, for back up and commercial tension purposes.

So, whilst exclusivity is contrary to most of what we see in society just now, it’s going to work in your favour when you front up at the negotiation alter with your chosen glass suitor and pledge undying loyalty (for at least the agreed contract term).

Now this act of commitment should not be undervalued and too often it is. Routinely I have seen companies in remote locations made to feel they have no real choice when it comes to alternative glass suppliers. But this is not so.

Every glass maker wants to fill their furnaces & “exclusivity” means a supplier and customer have agreed to hold hands and be there for each other, even if it’s within a long-distance relationship!

But a final word of caution – only give your supply away after a careful courtship. You need to know your intended is all they proclaim to be. But know that when you do it will touch the hearts of all those that hold the furnace dear & in return you can expect to be showered with priority service and pricing, just like a bride!

In our Next episode, our countdown moves to Glass Supplier Need number 5!