A supplier review; renewing partnerships

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Wow, it is August, meaning kids are headed back to the classroom in several states. Can you believe it: August! Besides this month being the time your young team members head back to college, it is also time to begin thinking about 2023. The past two plus years have been “the best of times, and surely the worst of times” as golf clubs struggled to put enough team members together just to field a squad able and willing to serve and support the amazing number of people coming to your first tee. As you work to keep things running with a bit of bubble gum, duct tape and velcro, I am asking you to do a total supplier review. Now? Yes, now, or soon.

The pandemic, together with supply chain problems and the Great Resignation, has not been good to suppliers, no matter the product or category. Here we are, years after the lockdown and some top suppliers are still struggling, simply not able to supply what you need, when you need it. This is not about summarily changing out many of your suppliers, as several are suffering the same challenges. It is, however, asking you to dig in, review the health of every supplier, before you sign agreements or commit to product for next spring. Here are three opinions about the supplier review:

  1. Consider the financial health of the supplier: It is important to move past your immediate contacts and look deep and hard at the back of the houseof each supplier. Talk to management, to your network, as well as every type of competitor. If deliveries were down and it was a poor sales year, there is a possibility that the long term may be in jeopardy.
  2. Understand your current golfer makeup: With COVID, as well as the amazing uptick of golf entertainment centers, golfers are younger, more demanding, and interested in more than white shirts, white shoes, and white golf balls. There is a very wide and deep list of new suppliers appealing to millions of golfers who play to just have fun and not to hoist a trophy. Before your buyer blesses the same sales order from years past, have them do a thorough supplier review.
  3. Write new programs: The game is in flux. It is changing, still looking for its solid landing place. From F&B to golf course supplies to clubhouses purchases and services to clubs, shoes, and caps, rethink how to create your best purchase plan for 2023. Smaller, more frequent deliveries may help both the golfer and your team get to understand the future much better. Keep the heavy inventories away from your building, no matter the warnings of supply chain doom and gloom.

In summary, you should have your managers do a complete and thorough supplier review. This is all about protecting you and your property. It is about building a supplier menu, post-COVID, that works for the next two years. There can be no nostalgia play here. It is about building sales, doing what is right for your golfer and your property. Everything has changed since 2019. Signing off on the same suppliers and vendors from 2019 without a great deal of homework may only create unwanted, unforeseen issues in 2023. This is also a great teaching exercise for your entire team. Work with your managers to do an investigation within their department and create written reports on each. Chances are you will make some important changes. Even though golfers played a lot of golf over the past 26 months, companies may have struggled for any number of reasons. Do the right thing. Do the smart thing and examine your supplier roster, prior to the start of the purchasing season. Once you and your team are comfortable, sign the agreements and write the orders.

Jack Dillon is a speaker, a writer and experienced as a golf operator, buyer, speaker, mentor and leader. He lives in Orlando and on Zoom. He is able to help you with your property or team issues. Reach Jack at: jackd@careerdividends.com or call at: 407-973-6136.

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