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The ethics of supplier relationships... what would you do?

Wednesday 19 May, 2021
by Anonymous

Aleema is part of your finance team at a major alcohol retailer and reports directly to you.  Part of her role is to manage supplier relationships. 

One of the major suppliers has asked for Aleema to be moved from their account because they don't think she is the appropriate person to continue the business relationship. 

You know from Aleema’s dealings with this supplier that they are big drinkers. Aleema doesn't drink alcohol but nonetheless has gone above and beyond to establish a positive business relationship. Aleema has successfully acquired this supplier as her primary account. If moved from this account it will be financially detrimental to her. 

The supplier has expressed to you, that if Aleema 'cannot be on their level' and contribute to the business relationship positively, they will go elsewhere.

What would you do?

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There are 4 comments for The ethics of supplier relationships... what would you do?.

Re: The ethics of supplier relationships... what would you do?

Thursday 20 May, 2021
by Zoe
I wouldn't move Aleema but would have a discussion around it with the supplie and aim to determine what aspects of the relationship are not working for them. Alcohol is everywhere and it is almost like it is the one thing people question when you don't drink and why. It is outdated thinking to think that you can only work with and trust those that drink. We need to support a culture of choice and enable everyone to choose if alcohol is right for them or not. If Aleema is not adverse to continuing to work with the supplier and build a strong relationship and supporting their business, regardless of her personal choice not to drink then she should be able to continue to work with them.

Re: The ethics of supplier relationships... what would you do?

Thursday 20 May, 2021
by Sam
If Aleema has a problem with alcohol perhaps she should have mentioned it up front and that would have prevented the current situation. Maybe she values the high paying client and the success that would bring her in the organisation more than her aversion to alcohol. If her values have changed then she will be ok with earning less money and would happily pass the account onto someone else. I’m not sure you can have your cake and eat it too.

Re: The ethics of supplier relationships... what would you do?

Thursday 20 May, 2021
by Amber
I work in an industry where social alcohol consumption is common amongst colleagues at networking events. I am not one to drink with any regularity and often order a soft drink in place of a wine or beer. I agree that Aleema should not be forced to consume alcohol if this is not something she wants to do. My beverage choices should not influence my ability to manage successful client and business relationships.

Re: The ethics of supplier relationships... what would you do?

Monday 24 May, 2021
by Ian S
Aleema is obviously successful however should not be forced to consume alcohol. She should meet with the client and when offered politely request an alternative. If this happens in a pub where rounds/ shouts are being bought she should still fund her shout. I have worked with people who don't consume alcohol. They would still come to the pub with us and drink non alcoholic beverages but always fronted up for their shout. They were well respected and admired for their flexibility.

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