#1
I work at a small company where many of us wear many hats and it can be difficult to get through the lengthy contracts some companies provide. I was wondering how a small company saves money and time dealing with these contracts. If our products are “off the shelf”, are all the standard and conditions required or the external links?

For the record, a couple years ago (As9100 C) a previous auditor recommended and allowed us to explicitly state on our quotes that we were only held accountable for the explicit terms and conditions stated directly on the PO (no external links). Our new auditor let us know that was not valid and that we are accountable for all terms and conditions.

How do you, smaller companies deal with these lengthy contracts? Do you expand your contract review process a few days? Hire a third party legal consultant? Communication with buyers? Anything helps. Thanks!
 

John Broomfield

Fully retired...
Trusted
#2
I work at a small company where many of us wear many hats and it can be difficult to get through the lengthy contracts some companies provide. I was wondering how a small company saves money and time dealing with these contracts. If our products are “off the shelf”, are all the standard and conditions required or the external links?

For the record, a couple years ago (As9100 C) a previous auditor recommended and allowed us to explicitly state on our quotes that we were only held accountable for the explicit terms and conditions stated directly on the PO (no external links). Our new auditor let us know that was not valid and that we are accountable for all terms and conditions.

How do you, smaller companies deal with these lengthy contracts? Do you expand your contract review process a few days? Hire a third party legal consultant? Communication with buyers? Anything helps. Thanks!
Cflor,

These Terms and Conditions tend not to change that frequently but they are important.

I’d be surprised if the person in charge of your company’s bidding or sales process did not arrange a legal review before bidding for work with a new customer. If that person lacks the necessary competence then the system may have another nonconformity until the necessary competence is made available and used effectively.

Small businesses tend to rely on their trade association for supplementary expertise in this area.

Once the T&Cs are accepted (priced for) then the person responsible will say that future reviews need only consider the requirements specific to the RFQ and any changes to that Customer's T&Cs; and I agree.

International, national and industrial standards for the services and products that your company delivers are essential to your company’s expertise and should already be under control and deployed effectively to your processes.

That leaves the laws and regulations that are applicable to your company and you’ll have a process for monitoring changes to these so your management system is updated to assure compliance.

Naturally, if your company decides to do business in another country it will take into account the applicable laws and regulations as part of its planning this new venture.

I cannot imagine a sound business reason for ignoring these requirements.

Mind you, I don’t read those Google T&Cs either!

John
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Super Moderator
#3
Anything helps. Thanks!
Have you seen the Interesting Purchase Order for its Terms and Conditions thread?

Be very careful before you open this Pandora box. Can you realistically imagine your small organization trying to negotiate terms and conditions with a multi-billion corporation? For the most part, their approach is take it or leave it. It will boil down to your company leadership and how much risk appetite they have to sign a contract/PO that has draconian stipulations. Because the customer won't budge.

And, in their perspective, as long as you accepted the PO, you have agreed with ALL the T&C's contained therein. If a legal dispute arises, can you afford a legal battle against a multi-billion dollar corporation?
 

Mike S.

An Early 'Cover'
#4
The T's and C's are getting more ridiculous by the year. Very typical are 50-100 pages of company specific general T's and C's plus quality specific T's and C's and FARs, and DFARs.

Many company Purchasing and QA people don't know and understand the stuff they are flowing down.

It's amazing anyone can do business with anyone else these days. I think the only reason they can do business is that most suppliers close their eyes and pray that all goes well and they never have to wade into the weed fields created by these requirements.
 

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