Avoid ‘Analysis Paralysis’

We all know companies and people that suffer from “analysis paralysis.” They appear scared to make a decision, are afraid to take the leap and as a result, they miss opportunities or waste precious time analyzing every detail only to arrive at a decision everyone already knew was the right decision. As a shop owner, you probably deal with companies like this all the time and get very frustrated. Vow not to let this happen to your company as you get bigger.

 

We all know companies and people that suffer from “analysis paralysis.” They appear scared to make a decision, are afraid to take the leap and as a result, they miss opportunities or waste precious time analyzing every detail only to arrive at a decision everyone already knew was the right decision. As a shop owner, you probably deal with companies like this all the time and get very frustrated. Vow not to let this happen to your company as you get bigger.

Entrepreneurs like you and I are successful because we learn to trust our instincts and make quick decisions to seize opportunities, take advantage of deals or keep production running. We are certainly not making whimsical decisions; we are making them by quickly triangulating the experience, expertise and education we have gained through the years. This is the basis of what forms your instinct. Everyone has an instinct or “gut feeling” when faced with a decision. The difference between successful entrepreneurial people and those with “analysis paralysis” is that the entrepreneurs have learned to trust their gut and make decisions based on those instincts.

A year or so after starting MFG.com, I was getting complaints from buyers that a few suppliers were not delivering good parts and that some were low-balling the quotes to win the order, and then, right before it was time to deliver the parts, they would call the buyer and say they needed more money because they had misquoted. Conversely, suppliers were saying that some buyers were price shopping and never awarding.

I began to realize that a few bad supplier members and a few bad buyer members were hurting the marketplace. I also realized that we had a database full of information about buyers’ and suppliers’ habits. For example, we know how many RFQs a buyer had posted and how many of those they had awarded. So, I thought, “Why not post that information to illustrate that there is transparency into each other’s intentions and conduct in the marketplace?” However, I realized we still didn’t have information about whether or not the parts were delivered to spec, and if the buyer paid on time.

Therefore, I decided to build a system combining the information from our database with ratings the users perform on each other. For example, we would let buyers rate their experience with suppliers and suppliers rate their experience with buyers for the community to see. I decided that we would never edit the ratings, otherwise the integrity of the system would be compromised.

I had a meeting with my management team and laid out the plan for the rating system I wanted to build. I was the only person in the room that thought it was a good idea. The team said if suppliers got bad ratings they wouldn’t renew their membership, and if buyers got bad ratings they would stop sourcing their parts through MFG.com. I said, “Great, that is exactly what I want—a self-policing community that exposes and pushes out the bad citizens.” I listened to my team’s well-intentioned concerns and fears, but I knew in my gut it was the right thing to do. I made an executive decision and proceeded with building and launching the rating system that has become one of the keys to the success of MFG.com.

Buyers and suppliers tell me they rely on the ratings more than any other due-diligence tool. I even see suppliers touting their ratings at trade shows and on their own Web sites.

I often wonder if the MFG.com marketplace would have survived had I not gone with my gut and against the grain.

Mitch Free is president & CEO of MfgQuote.com, Atlanta, Georgia. He can be reached at (770) 444-9686, ext. 2946 or at mfree@mfgquote.com