Vendor Xmas presents

What is the chance you're sending your IT suppliers Christmas cards this festive season?

What is the chance you're sending your IT suppliers Christmas cards this festive season?

One company that doesn't mind showering its IT suppliers with some Christmas cheer is Woolworths. As the year winds down, the retail giant has rewarded its best IT suppliers of the last 12 months at a dinner function attended by new CEO Michael Luscombe.

The IT supplier awards are a relatively new concept for the company, beginning only last year.

A company spokesperson explained to me the awards were designed to build better supplier relationships based on trust.

Woolworths gives its IT vendors quarterly feedback on the quality of their goods and/or services, staff, communication and initiative.

"The criteria and associated scoring is quite prescriptive, enabling us to compare different technologies and standardise the assessments made," the spokesperson told me.

This forms the basis of the points system, with vendors judged in different categories - ie consulting, product support and maintenance. An overall IT supplier of the year is also named.

It's certainly an interesting approach to making sure you're a priority customer with your suppliers. How many of you readers though have a separate event for your IT suppliers, such as a "supplier appreciation" night?

Shouting freebies for suppliers you're already paying can often be a hotly debated practice inside a company. In today's business environment though, is this sort of schmoozing required to guarantee good service from your suppliers, or is Woolworths going too far?