保護你的供給線

By Rick Boxx

我所諮詢的一個客戶常常經歷貧瘠的冬季,因為在那幾個月生意就不好,當我們審核並評估那公司在冬天的預計現金流量,發現顯然很難準時支付供應商。

許多公司在這種情況時會選擇忽略他們的供應商,等到有能力時再付貨款,躲避催款的電話,編出許多藉口,或者直接說謊延後付款。然而,我的客戶想要供應商知道他們是被重視的。他承認供應商對他的公司非常重要,且不想破獲與他們的關係。

在討論過這情況後,並確認即將到眼前的財務困境,我們都同意開誠佈公對供應商是最好、最關心和最體貼事。我的客戶公開的說出他公司的真正狀況,並且能夠安排分期還款給供應商,使各方都能接受且不受損。

結果,並沒有傷害與供應商的重要關係,反而保護了與他們的關係--而且讓關係更堅固--所以當春季生意改善後,每件事都回歸正常。不需要道歉或找藉口。我的客戶已了解不把供應商當一回事的危險。

這麼做是很實際且合理的,因為供應商準時供應原料對我們達成顧客的需求是非常重要的。但我們如何對待每一個與我們生意有關的人--包括供應商--也顯示出我們的價值觀和原則。聖經強調,對惠顧我們和服務我們的人或機構,我們維持正直與敏感的重要性。以下是一些聖經的教導:

努力維持誠信和耿直。如諺語所提醒,誠實是上策,而且沒有別的地方像在商業關係上更適合應用這一點。「你們所當行的是這樣:各人與鄰舍說話誠實,在城門口按至理判斷,使人和睦」(撒迦利亞書8章16節)。

欺騙可能造成無法逆轉的傷害。有時欺騙或甚至「隱瞞真相」似乎是避免困難處境的權宜之計,但當真相被揭露時,可能傷害相關人士的關係,且那關係無法再修補。「行正直路的,步步安穩;走彎曲道的,必致敗露」(箴言10章9節)。

除非你真正全心要守諾言,否則不要作出承諾。為了試著保住生意,有時我們會想告訴人們他們想要聽的,即使我們無法保證能履行我們的承諾。耶穌在對祂的跟隨者說話時,強烈地譴責這樣的行為。「你們又聽見有吩咐古人的話,說:不可背誓,所起的誓總要向主謹守。只是我告訴你們,什麼誓都不可起…你們的話,是,就說是;不是,就說不是」(馬太福音5章33-37節)。

保護你的「生命線」。好的供應商,就像好的顧客,對任何一個企業的成功都是不可或缺的。我們應該給每一個人他們應得的關照和注意力。不要冒著失去他們的危險。「你要詳細知道你羊群的景況,留心料理你的牛群…羊羔之毛是為你作衣服;山羊是為作田地的價值」(箴言27章23-27節)。

本文版權為正直資源中心(Integrity Resource Center, Inc.)所有。本文獲得授權改編自「瑞克.博克思 的正直時刻Integrity Moments with Rich Boxx」。這系列的文章是以一個基督徒的觀點評論職場的正直議題。

省思/討論題目
當面對進退兩難的狀況,例如無法準時付帳款,你或你的公司是否有時會對供應商或其他債主沒有完全誠實? 你認為人們為何有時不願誠實地說出他們面對的情況? 商場上的誠信正直有何重要性?短期的投機取巧以避免可能的不愉快交談或互動會有什麼長期的後果? 想想你曾向供應商或顧客作過的承諾或誓言:你曾經作出你當時就知道可能無法履行的諾言嗎?請解釋。註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:箴言14章5節,20章25節;馬太福音25章14-30節;路加福音15章1-6節;以弗所書6章9節;彼得前書5章1-3節

PROTECT YOUR SUPPLY LINES
By Rick Boxx

One of our consulting clients typically experiences lean winter seasons because business is slow during those months. Some time ago, as we reviewed and evaluated the company”s projected cash flow for the winter, it became evident there would be difficulty in paying suppliers on time.

Many companies in situations like this choose to ignore their suppliers and pay their bills when they can, dodging collection calls, making up excuses, or simply lying to delay making payments that are due. My client, however, desired for suppliers to know how much they are valued. He recognized how important they were to his company and did not want to jeopardize the relationships with them.

After discussing the circumstances, and recognizing the difficult financial period that loomed ahead, we all agreed open communication was the best, most caring and considerate thing to do for their suppliers. The client openly told the truth about his company”s situation and was able to work out payment terms with suppliers that all parties involved found acceptable and beneficial.

As a result, rather than compromising important relationships, they were protected – and even made stronger – so as business improved in the spring, everything returned to normal. There was no need for apologies or excuses. My client had understood the danger of taking relationships for granted.

This makes practical sense since the timely response of suppliers is essential for us to meet the needs of customers. But how we treat everyone associated with our businesses – including suppliers – also reveals the values and principles by which we operate. The Bible speaks strongly about the importance of maintaining integrity and sensitivity to all the people and entities that patronize and serve us. Here are some examples of what it teaches:

Strive to remain truthful and forthright. As the adage reminds us, honesty is the best policy, and nowhere is this more applicable than in business relationships. “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace” (Zechariah 8:16).

Deception can create irreversible damage. Sometimes it might seem expedient to mislead, or even “shade the truth” to avoid a difficult situation, but when the truth is revealed it can harm relationships in ways that cannot be repaired. “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out” (Proverbs 10:9).

Never make commitments unless you fully intend to keep them. In trying to secure and retain business it can sometimes be tempting to tell people what we think they want to hear, even if we cannot guarantee to fulfill our promises. In speaking to His followers, Jesus strongly denounced such behavior. “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.” But I tell you, do not swear at all…. Simply let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No”… (Matthew 5:33-37).

Protect your “lifelines.” Good suppliers, like good customers, are indispensable to the success of any business. We should give each the proper care and attention they deserve. Do not risk losing them.”Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds…the lambs will provide you with clothing, and the goats with the price of a field…” (Proverbs 27:23-27).

Copyright 2014, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from "Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx," a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
When faced with a dilemma, such as not being able to pay bills promptly, are you – or your organization – sometimes inclined to avoid being completely truthful to suppliers or others to whom money is owed? Why do you think people are sometimes reluctant to be honest about circumstances confronting them? What is the importance of integrity in business? How might short-term shortcuts, to avoid potentially unpleasant conversations or interactions, have long-term consequences? Think of promises – or “oaths” – you have made, assurances you have made tosuppliers or customers: Have you ever made a commitment you knew at the time you probably would not be able to fulfill? Explain your answer.NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 14:5, 20:25; Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 15:1-6; Ephesians 6:9; 1 Peter 5:1-3

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