WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Customers notice poor prime-sub relationships

When government customers look at the relationship between prime and subcontractors, they see a mixed bag.

We explored this question in our Insider Report – Government IT Contractor Partnering: The Customer Perspective – and we got nearly as many people saying the relationship is not very effective (9 percent) as we did saying it is highly effective (7 percent).

That close split continues as we look toward the middle range of responses:

  • 42 percent said the relationship is effective
    41 percent said the relationship is somewhat effective

For the relationships that are working well, government executives saw good communications between primes and subs as well as clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

They also liked longer-term relationships and well-managed ones that don’t show any cracks.

The comments we received also indicate that customers place most of the responsibility on the prime for making the relationship work.

What they don’t like is primes and subs playing the blame game. They also want knowledgeable primes who can communicate well with the subs.

Government customers want primes who interact a lot with their subs because when they don’t, that’s when they see trouble.

Bottom line is that customers notice when the relationship between primes and subs isn’t working because the results suffer.

The lesson from this is not to short-change your relationship with your subs, or if you are a sub, work closely with your prime. Your customers are watching.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Apr 29, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Reader Comments

Wed, Apr 30, 2014 Tom L

Very similar to Prime relationships with Customers.

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