Agreements and Supplier Failures – “Or What?”

In All, Technology by lowndestech

By: Jim O’Brien

Two words all purchasers of technology products or services should commit to memory and recite to themselves when reviewing the acquisition agreement are “Or what?” I have used that mantra with clients for years and it is a simple but effective method that one can use to consider what the ramifications should be in the event of failure on the part of the product, service or supplier.  It goes like this:

  • the specification states that the product or service will perform at “X” capability. “Or what?”
  • supplier will maintain the system (or repair products) such that it meets “Y” standard. “Or what?”
  • supplier will return repaired products back to purchaser in “Z” days. “Or what?”

The point is, having a specification and service levels without considering the impact to the business and specifically providing for an agreed remedy can result in a situation where a purchaser has no adequate remedy or the remedy at law is an unproductive exercise that many businesses simply do not have the time, resources, or appetite to pursue, resulting in unrecoverable costs to the purchaser.

“Or what?” can help you determine what failures should be addressed and how to address them so the business is not left with an unhappy surprise and a supplier that is not obligated to provide a proper remedy.