Denver, Colorado

Dealing with Vendor Tardiness

Vendors are an important part of any business, and it is important to give them the freedom they deserve. But giving vendors freedom doesn’t mean you allow them to be late to deliver products. Tardy vendors can be a cause of concern for your business; without punctuality, you can face huge losses.

The following article highlights how you can deal with vendor tardiness most efficiently and subtly possible. While you should forgive them for being late once or twice due to an emergency, frequent lateness is a cause of concern.
Work on any communication-gapsTardiness can be a product of miscommunication.

To prevent this from happening, the best way would be to communicate properly (Surprise!) in a respectful manner so that it seems formal but not too imposing. Delays are fine, but there should not be any uninformed delays from the supplier’s end. Other forms of miscommunication include the bad attitude of the supplier or the disorganized behavior of the supplier. You cannot rectify these behavioral traits right away, but you can try to communicate so that this does not cause too many issues.

These issues should be properly addressed in meetings with your vendors. You can be amiable with your suppliers while they are performing properly, but you need to be stern with them if they don’t behave properly. Keep communications open, be polite, and do not step back even if the suppliers are not responding the way you want them to. This way, you can work out a lot of issues you might face with supplier tardiness.

Get promises in writing

Getting things in writing is very important; it means that you have proof that the supplier agreed to the said date on paper. This clears almost all problems that may occur due to miscommunication. It also acts as a reminder for the supplier in the worst-case scenario that he forgets your order. Sometimes, word-of-mouth can be unreliable; people can forget or make mistakes in the order, like bringing 50 pieces of a certain product rather than 60 pieces, or being a week late because they got the wrong message.

It is possible that due to some restraints, some suppliers may not agree to sign a written contract. It is up to you to tell them that these reasons include management and administrative decisions, which cannot be bypassed, making it mandatory to bring the materials on the said date. Such measures need to be taken only if the supplier fails to deliver properly frequently. If the supplier still has issues in delivering on time, there are other ways to deal with them.

Escalate smoothly

You can forgive tardiness once or twice, as mentioned earlier if the supplier is facing any form of an emergency or has relayed the information regarding the delay prior. It is up to you that you don’t let this tardy behavior become the norm and not take your business lightly. There can be various ways in which you can handle a tardy vendor; these range from a verbal warning, a letter sent to them regarding the situation, and keeping meetings with them regarding their poor performance. You need to ensure that the vendor gets your point and takes the necessary steps to correct their behavior.

In case they repeat the same mistakes after multiple warnings, you can escalate your actions. You can take disciplinary action against them if necessary or suspend their services for a while. These actions must be taken in time; if you are too lenient with them, it might cost you a fortune and lead your company to face severe losses.

Evaluate and replace

There can be times when you chose a supplier because you felt they were the right choice for the business at that time. While that may be the case, as your business evolves, the supplier, too, needs to evolve with you. If they are unable to do so, you need to evaluate your choice of supplier. This is not just a way to deal with tardiness, these decisions are to be taken in extreme situations, but these cases tag along with the makings of a successful venture.

Replacing a vendor is a decision that should be taken only if they fail you time and time again. There are many factors you need to take into consideration before you replace a vendor, like what do you expect from the new supplier, what quality of products do you need and do they fit well with your business.


In conclusion, the best way to deal with a tardy vendor is to communicate with them and, if they don’t respond in kind, take the necessary action against them. This article highlighted the major ways in which you can deal with such a situation; hopefully, you found your answer through it.

January 31, 2022

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