A robust vendor management plan is a crucial aspect of any business’s success. A well-planned and executed vendor management plan will manage vendors’ sourcing and research, get quotes, turnaround times, contract and relationship management, performance evaluations, and many more.
A successful vendor management strategy will require time, skill, and resources and expertise because of its complex nature. While many business owners believe that managing vendors is focused on sourcing suppliers or offering the lowest price for a particular product or service. However, it’s far more complicated than that. An efficient vendor management system will streamline multiple processes to ensure maximum efficiency and ensure that agreements are beneficial to all parties.
What Is Strategic Contract Management?
Strategic contract management involves much more than just reducing the number of vendors you deal with. In reality, it includes more than one vendor. Instead, it’s about building solid, strategic alliances which support your business goals.
Contrary to popular belief, having smaller vendors won’t hinder an organization’s ability to bargain Services-level agreements (SLAs) and pricing. Actually, it puts you in the driving seat to fully benefit from volumes or scale-based pricing or discounts. It is possible to benefit from special pricing.
Build Your Vendor Contract Management Plan
Securing a vendor procurement strategy that includes the creation and management of highly-performing contracts can help avoid compliance issues such as missed deadlines, incoherent terms, and a lower quality of products and services.
CLM software can study trends in contract performance by analyzing custom KPIs and other metrics that provide insight into which contracts are the most effective for your goals. The software can keep different versions of a contract in the event of changes made in negotiations. These versions are then reviewed later without losing anything during the process.
With a procedure in place to assess the needs of the business’s procurement department before the time, it is necessary to establish the process of establishing a new vendor relationship the company can evaluate the options available and assess the way they will compare with the performance indicators that you have set up for previous similar contracts.
Find Out Who’s in Charge
A simple lapse in communication can result in expensive delays. Begin each vendor relationship by having a firm notion of the person responsible for the project and who is the primary contact for both sides.
An organization might decide to designate one to manage the procurement of suppliers and contract management, logistics throughout the execution of projects, and other management tasks. Based on the needs of the company and available resources, it might be more beneficial to make the management of supplier contracts an integral part of an employee’s job or to assign this task on an individual basis.
In the same way, the council for managing supplier contracts could make decisions for a specific branch or region or even across the entire boards of the company depending on what functions most effectively. Whatever approach your company chooses to employ, choosing a leader to manage the supplier relationship will start the process with a solid foundation.
Ask for Input from Vendors On the Strategy
While they’re not your employees, your suppliers are part of your team and essential to your achievement. Your procurement specialists have selected a handful of key suppliers due to their ability to offer a high-quality product that can influence the ways your company generates revenues.
In analyzing KPIs and setting goals for the services and products offered by third-party vendors, their knowledge can give useful information. This could result in discovering ways to optimize the terms and effectiveness of contracts with vendors to the future that will make your business more competitive.
Promote Clear, Consistent Communication
Similar to our private life, consistent and clear communication is crucial to building business relations. To build lasting, positive relationships with suppliers, buyers must engage with suppliers in the principle of equality. For example, aggressive negotiation techniques such as these can compromise trust and make your relationship tense and irritated. It’s beneficial to view that the provider is an integral part of its internal structure and is entitled to the same professional respect accorded to employees.
Leverage Technology to Recover Mutual Benefits
You should think about providing a technology platform that promotes the efficiency of your business and increases transparency. A self-service portal for vendors, for instance, allows the vendor to check purchase orders, modify the contact information, send invoices, and even respond to requests for quotes. It’s a suitable method of establishing transparency in the relationships you have with your suppliers and also create the audit trails of all activities to avoid any miscommunications.
Regularly Review Deliverables and Performance
Reviewing how your vendors perform helps increase accountability for your vendors and help reduce costs while increasing (both externally and internally) the satisfaction of customers. The process is not just a measure of indicators but an ongoing effort to improve. By clearly defining expectations for suppliers and sharing your findings with them, you can provide your suppliers with regular feedback that they can use to surpass expectations and add value.