How can you strengthen business and vendor relationships?

Vendor management goes beyond identifying, evaluating and selecting a supplier. It is about establishing a partnership that is built on trust, communication and cooperation.

In fact, you’ll quickly find that the best partnerships take work and careful planning. It is a two way street, where both sides – yourself included – are responsible for putting time into making the relationship solid.

  1. Clear communication – you need to ensure that you and your vendor are on the same page. You can achieve this by using RFP technology, as this will enable you to identify the best vendors from the beginning. In fact, you will be able to issue them with digital requests for RFIs, RFPs and RFQs, as well as will be able to view their profiles.
  2. Ensure your sourcing team comprises of multiple departments from your business – expanding your sourcing team to include multiple perspectives will make you more effective at picking vendors. We recommend that your team consists of IT professionals, as well as individuals from your finance, operations and accounting departments – essentially anyone who will need to work with your vendor on a daily basis. Once created, you can get them to take a look at cost and pricing (with the intention to minimise costs and boost ROI). NOTE: while pricing is important, you need to think beyond the price tag and focus on improving operational efficiencies, underperforming suppliers and navigating partnerships. Do that and you can boost productivity, profits and your progress.
  3. Look at the bigger picture – alongside your immediate needs, you need to evaluate your businesses long term requirements and see who can cater to all of them (today AND tomorrow). You also need to consider if the vendor will be able to work alongside your evolving business – do they have the tools to adapt and keep up as your business grows?
  4. Do your research – during the evaluation process, you will need to dig deep and review their entire history. In other words, you will need to do more than a surface evaluation of their company.
  5. Make sure expectations and capabilities are aligned – this will prevent miscommunication and under quoting. Instead, from the start you should be upfront about what you want so they won’t under-deliver. This will enable you to come up with mutually-agreed-upon tactics that benefit everyone.
  6. Evaluate your vendors regularly – what is working/going right? Can the process be more efficient/is there any room for improvement? Are they delivering?
  7. Create a means for vendor feedback – from giving them a point of contact in your team, to proactively arranging progress meetings/catch-ups/performance reviews; you can ensure everything stays on track.

Now it is possible for businesses to complete vendor sourcing internally. However, many prefer the reassurance of outsourcing this process to IT consultants who can use their wider breadth of industry knowledge to ensure you get the best deals.

The only problem with this, is that some consultants take commissions when they successfully sell a product to a client. This means, there is a possibility that they won’t always advise you on the best vendor for your business, but will choose one who will give them the biggest commission.

At Economit, we are 100% independent and impartial, and take no commissions from the suppliers we recommend. As a result, you can feel confident in the recommendations that we make, as we’ll only suggest them for the right reasons. In fact, we make a point of understanding your business objectives and market first, to ensure that we select the right product or service.

For assistance with vendor sourcing, contact our team today.