Top ways to become a better vendor manager

Managing vendor partnerships is no easy feat, but there are several steps that you can take in order to have a more efficient and effective working relationship with your third-party providers.

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1. Understand processes

To profit from the outsourcing of your managed systems, you first need to fully understand them. By learning more about your processes, the end-to-end costs involved and any outputs, you can enter into vendor agreements with a mutual understanding and can set out realistic expectations.

2. Weigh up options

You may find that, once you’ve taken the time to evaluate your processes, you feel that these can be managed successfully in-house. However, you should keep in mind that keeping things inside the company can lead to a lac of objectivity so you will need to make an extra effort to keep up to date with your sector and any relevant changes. Check out these disadvantages of outsourcing:

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 3. Choose the right vendor

You shouldn’t choose your vendor based on cost alone. You should also consider how they fit in with your organisation culturally, and also take into account rates of change and decision-making processes. Be sure to do your research and check whether the company has been sued by previous clients and whether it appears to be financially stable.

4. Negotiate with help from the team

All operational staff should be involved in vendor management ( negotiations from an early stage, to ensure that everyone is in agreement before any commitments are made. Employees on the ground can have very valuable input in terms of an operational perspective which, teamed with senior input concerning budgets, can help you make the best decision for the company.

5. Manage the relationship

Once committed, you must honour the contract and work towards building a good working relationship. Communication is absolutely vital, so make sure that vendors are always kept up to date and make communication channels clear and easy. That said, you should also track their performance and ensure that they are keeping up their end of the contract.

6. Evaluate

By gathering relevant information in connection with your outsourced services, you can use this data to determine whether you should renew your contract with the vendor or look elsewhere. Remember not to take the decision to terminate a contract lightly.

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