Contract Design & Negotiation
I am happy to answer the most frequently asked question in advance: No, I do not prepare tender documents myself in projects for selecting a service provider. In large projects I mainly focus on two fields of action: firstly, giving orientation and insights in the “jungle of options” as well as in finding the right strategy PRIOR to a tendering process. Secondly, I ensure reaching a professional service contract based on adequate and tactics-driven contract negotiations AFTER a tendering process. Of course, I typically bring in my guidance into the tender/selection process, whereas my clients ideally are in the driver seat for the entire course of the project. For the comprehensive tendering process, I am happy to recommend professional resources from my network which cover this part par excellence. By the way, this also applies to interim management needs – here, too, I am happy to recommend people who are much better suited for this requirement than I am.
A large part of my negotiations are renegotiations of existing logistics contracts. The projects typically arise from plausible, but also “diffuse” dissatisfaction of the client – often especially where the service partner has been working with the client for a long time.
In my projects I am always aiming for developing (contractual) set ups that are resilient in the long term and tailored to the concrete cooperation needs of the parties. These should not only “survive” the evolution of the logistics structures over the years, but even more enable this evolution based on the right set of mechanics, models, rules and by considering the practical suitability.
Negotiating as expertise?
“Negotiating is learned by negotiating”. This sentence hits the heart of the matter. Of course, I am a certified negotiator and have learned my skills at Matthias Schranner (www.schranner.com), but in my opinion, successful negotiations are based on these success factors:
(a) methodological approach,
(b) intensive preparation as well as honest evaluation on the current position and options for action of all negotiating parties,
(c) creativity and willingness to create,
(d) a backpack full of real-life negotiating experience.
Therefore, negotiating large-size contracts is a discipline in its own and requires real expertise that even large companies can hardly have themselves. Complex contract logistics projects with service providers rarely take place in the lives of decision-makers and buyers – correspondingly there is little experience. However, you must acknowledge that this “exercise” is handled frequently by the large contract logistics providers, due to the large number of projects. Strengthening the team on the principal’s client side will therefore definitely pay off.