OK, the old ways do have a place. But do they?
Loyalty and dedication are one thing. Blindness relating to either is quite another.
A recent experience with a client and an incumbent supplier brought this to light. Just because there is an incumbent, doesn't mean they are the best fit. And from the supplier side, we think about this daily. Yes, choose your suppliers because they are loyal, provide the service when you ask, you like the contact person, and they've been with you since day one and know you and your business real well. However, in today's environment, both suppliers and buyers must be looking for or provide the best value for the effort. In recent times this has been referred to as "value-added" service.
Do you provide value-added service? Are you getting value-added service?
If the selection of a supplier is the responsibility of one of your direct reports, let them make the decision on who to choose. Chances are, your colleague has a great sense of what is needed from the supplier and best for the task at hand.
From a supplier standpoint, do you review your services on a regular basis with your clients? Are you evolving to support their changing markets and needs?
Having old, good friends as suppliers has its place, but we must be judicious, but polite.