Conflicts can arise during a negotiation and means to resolve them must be found. But what is the best strategy to achieve positive results for the negotiating parties? Check out this post and find out!
Identifying the difficulties of negotiation
We can define conflict as the lack of understanding between two (or more) parties, causing tension on at least one side involved in the negotiation process.
There are two ways of looking at conflicts when it comes to negotiation. The first is to think that it is harmful and that the people who produce it are emotionally disturbed. The other way is to see it as an opportunity to work to minimize losses and maximize gains for all.
For those who want to do well in a negotiation that involves different opinions, only the second view on the subject is possible. But before resolving a disagreement, it is necessary to know whether it is an affective or a conflict of perspective, teaches the negotiation teacher, Paulo A. Alves de Almeida (PUC/MG), who has among his students many professionals from the purchasing department.
An Affective Conflict involves interpersonal incompatibility among negotiators, making it difficult to exchange information and causing the energy of understanding to be directed towards solving people’s problems rather than seeking solutions for business.
But in a Conflict of Perspective there is a disagreement of thought among the elements that are participating in the negotiation, which is natural, after all, each individual has his own ideas and perceives reality in a particular way.
William Ury, founder of Harvard University’s School of Negotiation, says that conflict is natural and will always exist, and it is up to the negotiator to find ways to overcome it.
But the expert also says it is a mistake to believe that good negotiators are born ready. For him, to be successful in a negotiation that involves conflict is something you learn, and for that he gives the first tip: before influencing someone, you must influence and dominate yourself!
Solving conflicts in a negotiation
This is an essential point in a negotiation: the participants must be able to persuade and modify each other’s ideas. How can this be done? Follow the tips that follow – they are very useful for those working in the purchasing department.
Overcome interpersonal conflict
By considering each other opponents, there is no chance for dialogue and the negotiation will not progress. The negotiator should focus on resolving the deal, preventing personal feelings from being a part of the negotiating table.
The Harvard professor says that a classic mistake in negotiation is to think that being soft on people means being soft on the problem. Or the opposite: to imagine that a firm approach to the problem requires being tough on people.
According to the expert, what successful negotiators do is separate people from the issue discussed so that they can be calm with people while remaining firm about the problem.
In addition, if you notice that other members of the group have this kind of disagreement, you cannot get involved in the situation or take sides. The best way out is to value opinions, creating space for all group members to express themselves.
When all participants have the perception that their opinions have been listened to in a respectful way, even without being adopted, there is a feeling of collective responsibility for the final decisions.
Find similar points
No matter how different the opinion of people who are taking part in the negotiations is, there will always be at least one point in common. And you have to identify it before they are camouflaged by differences.
The negotiator must therefore find the similar points of the two parties and start the conversation on this item and gradually introduce the disagreements.
Another important point is to take the initiative in the negotiation because, according to experts in this field, those who have this attitude can have greater control of the situation, increasing the chances of success – those who work in the purchasing department need to know this.
Know how to deal with problems
Preparing for uncomfortable situations can help the negotiator deal with them, when (and if) they happen – at such times, it is essential to control anxiety and maintain balance.
One way to overcome a conflict is to apply the active listening technique. Also known as empathetic listening or reflective listening, it consists of listening and responding to the other party in a truly understanding way, capturing not only the words (verbal language), but also their feelings, manifested by gestures, posture and even looks (non-verbal language).
Calling the person by name, using the same tone and volume to the other party and always being very polite are simple attitudes that help to establish greater interaction and closeness.
The active listening technique allows you to:
- Increase trust and mutual respect;
- Release emotions and reduce tension;
- Encourage participants to disclose information;
- Create a safe environment for problem solving.
Act as a mediator
In complex negotiations, the way out for conflict resolution can be to act as a mediator. This is one of the concepts taught in the Harvard Negotiation class by Professor William Ury.
What he calls the third side is a negotiator who, even though they have interests in the issue to be resolved, manages to advocate for the interests of all. In order for this to work, however, this negotiator must be trusted from both sides, otherwise they will not be able to establish themselves as a mediator.
A well-conducted negotiation leads to the difficulties being overcome, allowing everyone to be sure in the end that they have been heard and that the decision was the best possible one for all parties.
However, it is worth noting that it is not only the result of the transaction that should be considered, but the way the process was conducted. If in the course of the transaction there was an exchange of concessions between the parties, the necessary balance was established so that everyone felt comfortable and left the process satisfied – and ready for future negotiations based on mutual respect.
If you want to know more advanced negotiation techniques, it is worth knowing other relevant tips that we have prepared to help you get the best results. Click, read and perfect your way of negotiating:
Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been issuing daily reports with recommendations to combat COVID-19.
Among the various advises, one of the most important is social isolation, even for those who are not part of the risk group. It is not just a matter of avoiding contagion, but of reducing the spread of the virus, enhanced in agglomerations or in environments with many people, such as factories and offices.
In this scenario, the home office appears as an excellent alternative for many companies and employees – including purchasing professionals – ensuring that, even from a distance, people remain engaged, producing and moving projects forward. On the other hand, employees, while remaining in isolation, reduce the chances of contracting and transmitting the virus – which, according to recent studies, has airborne transmission and can survive for up to 3 days on surfaces such as plastic or stainless steel.
In this blog post, we will bring you some tips to optimize your time while in home office. What is the best way to set priorities? How to divide attention between work, children and home chores? Keep reading to find out.
See how to make your Home Office safe and productive in times of pandemic
Remember: despite being in the comfort of your home, the home office should not affect your productivity.
It is necessary to maintain a routine – and more than that, a mindset – focused on work. After all, even in times of pandemic and isolation, the production cannot stop.
Most of the people who are working from home these days have been taken by surprise, with no time to plan this change of workplace. Therefore, it is even more important to know the tips we have prepared and which we list below.
There is a right time for everything!
Many may find it easy and comfortable to work remotely. But the home office requires unique discipline, as it becomes even more difficult to separate moments of relaxation, home chores and professional activities.
Working at home does not mean producing while lying on the couch watching a movie. So, first of all: reserve a room or space in the house to be your workstation. When it comes to producing, privacy and silence are essential, especially considering online meetings and video conferences.
Rest and relaxation are also an important part of the day. Optimize your time by dividing it between work tasks and rest periods.
A great way of doing that is to have a schedule well defined. In the period dedicated to work, eliminate everything that can cause distraction. Strictly follow the hours you set, without delays, the same way you do when you go to the office – if you don’t respect your own hours you won’t be able to produce well while in home office.
In this same note, in moments of relaxation, do not do anything for work. Turn off your computer and work chat so you can focus on your family and on yourself.
The challenge of caring for children
Dealing with work commitments at home in times of Coronavirus also implies, in many cases, sharing attention and time with the little ones.
With children at home, more than ever, the home office becomes a multitasking marathon. And they don’t always understand the urgency of working in silence. Therefore, the first step is to explain to them the need for mom and dad to have privacy during their work time.
Show them the schedule with your working hours, the place where you will be developing your professional activities, set limits and, in a respectful and loving way, make sure they are met.
For example, they should know that when their parents are on a phone call or in the middle of a negotiation, loud noises and interruptions must be avoided. A practical way to do this is to tell them that whenever parents are wearing headphones, for example, more silence is needed.
During periods of isolation like the one we are going through, with interrupted classes, closed schools, and indications against agglomerations in public spaces, separate films, videos and series for the children to watch – always checking its Parental Advisory labels and if they show the values you want to pass on to your children. Again: talk to them, establishing what can and cannot be seen. By giving an explanation rather than simply prohibiting you will have more chances to see your rules being followed.
Internet access for games and chatting with friends can also be allowed, but, of course, if the rules you find convenient are respected. In addition, to ensure the well-being of the little ones, you should also educate them about cybersecurity – you will find some tips about that matter below.
As much as electronic devices are very effective when it comes to entertaining children, it is important to take a break and propose other distractions. Here are some suggestions:
- Encourage reading – establish a family reading time, with games and story discussion;
- Tell stories – they can be from books or even stories experienced by people you know;
- Create a game night – games are good options to have fun together;
- Create new hobbies – use creativity to invent games, especially the ones that allow you to move (within the possibilities of your house space);
- Include physical activity – it can be as simple as stretching!
- Assign daily tasks – depending on the age of the child, he can already collaborate with small chores, including: putting dirty clothes in the basket; making the bed; drying and storing dishes, etc.
If the children realize that, outside of the time dedicated to work, parents find time to be with them and have fun, they will respect the “office hours” much more, facilitating the home office.
Attention to Information Security
At home, we do not always have all the technological resources we find in the company – even when remote access to office documents is easier, due to the Digital Revolution.
For this reason, we should be even more attentive to cybersecurity when working remotely. The first step, therefore, is to know your company’s security policies.
If there is no rulebook, reach out to your company’s Information Technology sector and ask for guidance on the security procedures that should be adopted while in home office and make sure you follow them correctly.
Each company adopts a specific digital security protocol, but there are some precautions that are valid for all employees who work outside the organizational environment. See the main ones:
- During work, avoid opening personal items on the same computer;
- Use strong passwords that are difficult to guess;
- Whenever you leave your computer unattended, make sure you lock your computer screen to prevent someone from accidentally tampering with it;
- Just use your home’s Wi-Fi signal and don’t pass the password on to people who aren’t completely trustworthy – don’t use public Wi-Fi, as they are more vulnerable to cybercriminals;
- Be careful when accessing unknown websites and, especially, when granting your data for internet purchases – only do this when you are completely sure about the reliability of the website / company;
- Any strange happenings during the performance of your tasks should be reported to your company’s IT department.
With proper discipline and organization, the home office can be very productive. For the purchasing department, specifically, one way to optimize the routine in these days of seclusion, is to have a company specialized in the supply of indirect materials, such as Soluparts, as a partner.
Find out more about Soluparts on our website and, take the opportunity to read other important content for the development of your work:
Soluparts is an international trading company specialized in purchasing and delivering all types of industrial materials (MRO – Maintenance, Repair, Operations). Our dynamic team and modern systems enables us to offer a fast and reliable service to all our clients. See below what makes us unique.
1- We are agile
Our branches in the US, Germany, Brazil, Portugal and Hong Kong allow us to optimize and leverage materials purchasing and sales logistics, providing our customers with the best supply chain service in the industry: fast, reliable and modern.
2- We connect you to the 5 continents
Soluparts helps you reduce the number of international suppliers, since we have branches in the most competitive markets in the world. Your quotation will reach the most relevant manufacturers on the five continents, and you as our customer will only need the paperwork and time spent on one quotation. Our relationships and connections allow us to find any brand and product you need.
3- Manufacturer warranty
We offer the same warranty as the manufacturer. Should any mishap occur, our customer contacts us directly and we will solve the problem.
4- Experience and trust
Companies in various industries work and trust Soluparts. They know we always achieve expressive results. We have competitive and reliable suppliers in every segment and by decreasing your numbers of registered suppliers you also decrease risks of dealing with many different manufacturers..
We also rigorously check all incoming and outgoing products from our warehouses, ensuring that items shipped to the customer meet their requirements, reducing unnecessary expenses on returns.
5- We are facilitators
We help our customers purchase spare parts and effectively reduce prices, delivery time and bureaucracy. Our customer gathers all their demands in a single quotation request and we will take care of all contact with the various manufacturers, as well as in selecting the best prices and conditions in the market. This reduces ours client’s time in searching and comparing quotes with multiple suppliers. We also do cargo consolidation reducing costs and delivery time, ensuring the best terms.
6- Premium customer service
We have a multicultural and international team, prepared to help you in the best way and in several languages. Each of our consultants knows the needs of each client closely. They are experienced professionals with unlimited access to over 15,000 brands, with the daily mission of offering you the best prices and best market conditions.
Our logistics and purchasing departments are highly efficient, maintaining direct contact with our customers’ logistics departments to ensure all export documents and procedures are following their requirements.
How can we assist you? Do you face any other issues that we do not address in this text? We have experience in solving foreign trade issues and will be able to help you with what you need. Never again will a part be missing from your factory!
Logistics was seen only as an operating sector in companies for a very long time. The main concern with the industry was to maintain a low cost and the market spent a lot of time ignoring the strategic and the competitive potentials that a quality logistics management can offer.
Nowadays, as companies already invest in the creation of directory loads and logistics management, we can see signs that this picture is changing. More than looking after acquisitions and contracts with suppliers, the logistics operators in the company are professionals who influence the performance of all other sectors, ensuring a better quality of raw material, negotiating the best prices and ensuring that there is no lack of structure to produce.
However, precisely because of this new configuration of logistics activities, the role of the buyer has become somewhat blurry. After all, what are the functions of the buyer and where should this professional be involved in the buying process? We will discuss some main points about the buyer’s duties and how it relates to the other departments and employees in a company!
The buyer’s profile
As companies in general devote most of their budgets to acquisitions and investments in the production structure, the purchasing management is an administrative role, not just a supportive section as it used to be seen as.
The purchasing professional needs to be multifaceted, in the sense of studying hard and knowing well the processes of purchase, storage, packaging, transportation and handling of inputs involved in the activities of the company.
In addition, marketing, technology, and management expertise is increasingly demanding to perform fully, as well as demonstrating proactivity, initiative, and good decision-making skills.
All this training is necessary so that the buyer is able to fulfill the objectives set for his department, that is, the best deals, the fulfillment of deadlines and a regularity of supply to the company.
The buyer’s duties
The logistics function involves, among other activities, an analysis of quotations, careful consideration of prices, quality of materials purchased, receipt of purchases and a placement of the inputs in operation.
Within the process of logistics management, the buyer is the individual responsible for ensuring that things are performed completely, without impact or damage to the productive process of the company.
The buyer is responsible for:
1. Ensuring the continuous supply of materials and inputs for the operations, by controlling the requests, searching the best suppliers and negotiating prices and conditions more favorable to the budget;
2. Maintaining inventory control in an intelligent manner, with goods available for quick replacements, avoiding downtime in production;
3. Avoiding stockpiling many similar items, preventing spoilage, waste and obsolescence of goods;
4. Acquiring items of proven quality, and working to maintain this quality within storage, transportation and placement of the inputs;
5. Maintaining administrative control of suppliers, through updated registries, constant contacts with suppliers and revision of old contracts.
In short, the buyer’s function is to make sure the items are purchased in cases of real need, quickly to avoid production losses, and ensure that items are stored and transported safely. The analysis of quotations and suppliers must be widely conducted in order to know all possible sides of the potential partner, looking thoroughly into the suppliers own activities, processes and history.
Other Sectors and Participants
Other logistics management professionals ought to work together to ensure there are no problems with the processes. This means checking the operation of every process at each stage of the supply chain, from the issuing of purchase orders to the delivery of the goods purchased.
The department needs to operate so that costs are always the smallest, collaborating to control inventory expenditures, investing in planning and forecasting replacement and maintenance of equipment and supplies, and mainly working in an integrated way with other departments of the company.
The supply flow begins with a purchase request, which can start from either an internal need of a sector or from one of the stages of the production process. From there, the buyer goes into action to execute that purchase, choosing the best suppliers and setting the deadlines for delivery or execution of the service. After a purchase, the sector that received the service or good must report back to the logistics sector, with comments on the final outcome of the purchase.
Integration is fundamental to keep forecasts reliable, so that the planning can be held through as initially conceived. A good communication channel is important to maintain everyone on the same page, in the form of meetings and reports, to stay aligned in conducts, decisions and attitude.
Transparency across sectors is also a crucial part of logistics management. Problems and defects need to be reported immediately after they occur, as well as obstacles in the delivery process and quality of the goods purchased. Transparency also applies to inventory management, with constant audits and checks to prevent over-purchases.
Suppliers should be carefully selected by the buyer, and their relationship with the company should be similar to a partnership. In this way, it is possible to invite suppliers to get to know the internal operation, analyze your processes and understand the lines of management, indicating problematic points and even being inspired to improve their own internal processes.
By maintaining a friendly relationship with suppliers, the requests will be met with much more zeal, as well as opening new doors for negotiating prices and terms with more flexibility.
In today’s article, you saw some aspects of the discussion about the buyer’s role in logistics management. Of course, each company operates the way it sees fit, assigns different roles and obligations to its employees according to their needs. However, in general, logistics management must go through the points we have listed, in order to maintain a basic purchasing structure in place.
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