What is vendor management?
Vendor management refers to the process of managing suppliers. Vendor management involves activities like selecting vendors, managing costs, negotiating contracts, controlling vendor-related risks, and ensuring service delivery.
A company’s vendors will depend on its business model. They could use vendors such as cleaners, IT vendors, seafood suppliers and marketing consultants. You can find vendors of all sizes, from small businesses to large corporations.
Why is vendor management so important?
For many reasons, vendor management is crucial. Vendor management is crucial when selecting the right vendor to meet a business’s needs. Companies can also use vendor management for business goals such as cost savings and speeding up onboarding.
Effective management of vendors is essential to minimize supply chain disruptions and ensure that the goods and services delivered are on time and up to standard. A vendor management program that is effective can also help companies to build stronger relationships with vendors, which could lead to better rates.
Vendor management benefits
- Improve vendor selection
- Cost savings can be achieved by harnessing
- Speed up vendor onboarding
- Reduce the chance of supply chain disruption
- Strengthen supplier relationships
- Get better rates
Vendor management process
There are many activities that go into vendor management, including:
- Selecting vendors. The vendor selection process involves researching and sourcing potential vendors, seeking quotes via requests to quote (RFQs), requests for proposals (RFPs), and shortlisting and selecting the vendors. Although price is an important consideration in the selection process, companies must also consider other factors such as reputation, track record, and ability to communicate well.
- Contract negotiation. It is important to have the contract in place from the beginning and ensure that both parties benefit from the terms. It can be time-consuming to negotiate a contract. This includes defining the goods and services that will be included, as well as the dates for the arrangements’ start and end dates, and any other terms and conditions. You may need to pay attention to non-compete and confidentiality clauses.
- Vendor onboarding. It will include gathering all documentation and information necessary to establish the vendor as an approved supplier to your company. This will also ensure that you can pay the vendor for the services or goods they provide. Along with contact information and payment information, this may include information about the vendor’s relevant licenses, tax forms, and insurance details.
- Monitoring vendor performance. Companies will evaluate and monitor the performance of vendors as part of vendor management. This could include evaluating vendors’ performance against key performance indicators (KPIs), such as delivery dates, quality, and quantity.
- Management and monitoring of risk Vendors must be closely monitored for potential risks to the company. These include the risk of compliance breaches and lawsuits, data security concerns, intellectual property loss, and data security issues. Companies should also monitor whether vendors are acting in a way that could cause disruption to company operations.
- Payment. Assist vendors in ensuring that they are paid promptly for the services and goods they provide, according to the terms.
Online tools that keep all information about vendors and their activities together in one place can be called vendor management. Vendor management or supplier management software can fulfil a number of functions, from managing the RFP process to streamlining supplier communications.
Vendor management challenges
It can be difficult for companies with large supplier bases and/or complex geographic footprints to get a central view of all vendors. There are many challenges that can arise during the various stages of vendor management, from obtaining the correct documentation from vendors to performing any required risk assessments. To avoid problems, it is important to use the right tools and processes.
To ensure that vendor relationships are productive and deliver the desired value, companies may employ a vendor management strategy. This strategy could include areas like setting clear goals and tracking KPIs, building and maintaining strong relationships with vendors. To identify strategic suppliers, companies may classify their suppliers and invest in strengthening these relationships. You might also consider avoiding relying too heavily upon a vendor.