Senior Level Vendor Managers

  • March 6, 2015
  • Dan Banning

Senior Level Vendor Managers

Given the importance of our third-party relationships to the success of an organization, the role of the vendor manager has evolved so that they are no longer a legal clerk, a contract negotiator, or a paperwork administrator.

In today’s business world, vendor managers are often a part of the senior level management team where strategic thinking and business development are vital necessary skills.

It can be tough to “think strategically” about vendors – particularly when they are a critical vendor that has been servicing your organization for years and are locked into a long contract, but here are a few tips…

  • Make certain that your vendors match or exceed your business needs
  • Look for a competitive advantage that you may gain by grouping more products together from a single vendor.
  • At the same time, choice is important, buying from a single vendor can be dangerous, keep your eyes open.
  • When purchasing technology or outsourcing IT, stay informed.  Use resources such as Gartner’s Hype cycle to understand better the risks and rewards of such purchases.

Becoming a shrewd Business Developer is another skill to hone as a senior level Vendor Manager.  More and more the success of our organizations are intricately connected to the services or products provided by our third parties.

  • Take the initiative with your vendors: shape vendor actions and priorities.
  • Manage your Service Level Agreements – don’t sign the contract just to get the “compliance box” checked.
  • Develop a consistent performance scale and then communicate regularly with your vendor: talk to them about their performance and quality.
  • Evaluate your Return on Investment on an annual or biannual basis
  • Seek to develop strategic partnerships with your vendors – talk to them about innovations, market trends, show curiosity and whenever able, have them come out and talk to the people in your organization who use their products or services.

This Blog post is based on content from Quantivate’s Recent Webinar called “Vendor Management: Best Practices to Jumpstart your Program“. You can view the webinar on the Quantivate Vendor Management Resources Page.