Save the above for your files. I consider this to be the basic terms and conditions associated with most Purchase Orders.  It lists all the most common terms and conditions typically associated with most industrial buying organizations and their suppliers.

A contract between a buyer and supplier is often referred to as a Purchase Order (PO).  The terms and conditions on that PO are often referred to as the Boilerplate.  Boilerplate is kind of an old school term but a lot of old timers are still out there.  Most employers would like you to understand the basic terms and conditions associated with a PO and I have provided those to you as an attachment.  It is generally accepted that SCM types such as yourself lack legal skills and that is why most SCM organizations have to go to a corporate lawyer when tort (liability) issues arise.  As you think about your graduate education goals, it might be worthwhile to consider pursuing a Juris Doctorate (J.D., a law degree).  Very few SCM professionals have a legal background, let alone a law degree. I always say, any time you can bring a skill set into the workplace where demand exceeds supply, then that is going to command a premium in terms of pay and job security.  Getting into Law School requires that you take the LSAT and most law programs are 3 years in length. I personally think you would be very well served if you graduated with a supply chain degree and then eventually obtained a JD with a concentration in contract management.

As supply chain students, we require that our students take LAW 4860 so that you can learn the basic terms and conditions associated with buyer-supplier contracts.  The instructors tend to be actual lawyers and they customize the class for ISM students.  If that class appeals to you, then we can sit down and discuss your potential aspirations of obtaining a JD.  I would also save this email for your LAW 4860 class (along with all the material in this class).

50% of the World’s Lawyers are American! 

This all translates into a cost of doing business in America that could have consequences to our productivity (assuming tort/liability/lawsuits does not add value).   Note, Americans are only 4% of the global population.


Country/Tort Costs as a % of its total economy (GDP):

U.S. 2.40 (the average for other industrialized nations is .8%!!!)  

Switzerland .70

France .55

Canada .55

Austria .53

Belgium .50

Germany .45

U.K. .45

Italy .45

Spain .35

Japan .35

Denmark .35

Australia .30

Think of tort costs as liability and lawsuits. The Trial Lawyers of America are one of the most powerful lobbying powers in Washington. Most politicians have a J.D. (Juris Doctorate, a law degree). I suppose having quick and easy and kind of cheap access to lawyers is a good thing.  Also, living in a litigious society keeps everyone on their toes for liability reasons so everyone has to practice due diligence (being proactive on liability issues).  But, why would America’s tort costs be three times larger than the rest of the industrialized world? What % of the world’s lawyers are American?
Does the law part of business and/or SCM appeal to you.  Would you ever consider pursuing a law degree.  Have you taken LAW 3800 yet.  Did you like it.  Remember, a huge part of your career will be creating long-term strategic relationships with suppliers (i.e., the automotive OEMs teaming up with smaller technology suppliers to bring autonomous vehicles to the market).  Just imagine the legal terms and conditions of those contracts.  For example, how do you establish joint ownership of all design and manufacturing capabilities.  I hope they took Dr. Eckert’s MKGT 2750 Global Negotiation class.  My goal professionally and personally is to never need to call a lawyer (so far, so good).  

Thank you.  Sime

Dr. Sime (Sheema) Curkovic, Ph.D., Professor, Operations/Supply Chain
Western Michigan University, Haworth College of Business


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