• What is your top vendor management best practice?

    Your "golden rule" of managing suppliers and vendors, your top "best practice." Or the best piece of supplier relationship management advice you've been given.

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  • Answers (13)

  • Sarah Lees

    05/10/2015 10:27PM

    Listen - Listen - Listen, then when you are confident you have all the knowledge you require, reply.

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    Anna Duin Great vendor advice, great life advice Sarah!

    05/10/2015 10:50PM

  • Royce Salisbury

    16/09/2015 11:54AM

    Have a collaborative relationship with key suppliers and be able to work together on growing business together.

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    Anna Duin Great advice Royce. Thank you!

    16/09/2015 04:01PM

  • Samantha Coombs

    14/09/2015 05:40PM

    Implement into each contract the Morris KPI which is a great management tool for key clients. Additionally a partnership style relationship. Bringing the supplier to strategic planning meetings for example.

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    Anna Duin Samantha, I love the idea of bringing them to planning meetings! Because let's face it, if we entrust them with our mission, why shouldn't make them part of the strategy behind the execution? Thanks for your insight.

    14/09/2015 07:08PM

    Helen Thomas Hi Samantha, can you tell me more about the Morris KPI? I haven't come across it before.

    29/09/2015 06:32AM

    Old Profile. procureme.co.uk Me too.

    27/10/2015 09:27AM

    Anna Duin Looks like Samantha Coombs Samantha Coombs BSc CIPS was taking some requests for the document on this related discussion:

    27/10/2015 06:23PM

    Samantha Coombs Hi, if you send me your email addresses I'd happily share a copy of the matrix with you all.

    15/01/2016 11:01PM

  • Heifa B. Kourda

    12/09/2015 08:08PM

    We talk more of establishing and maintaining use of accurate techniques and mechanisms to select suppliers and to keep them on the list for probable future use, especially with the suppliers serving the common operational transactions of the company. The strategic purchases are critical and complex and require more long term inter-beneficiary partnerships, where the give and take is balanced, in favor of both sides in a spirit of respect and cooperation. Maintain procurement ethics in mind in all steps of building a relationship with you suppliers, a good, fair, "healthy" and proactive relationship without making concessions on the business interests, this would be the most important I think.

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    Anna Duin Very well said Heifa. My grandfather was a very successful insurance salesman, and he said his secret was to "genuinely help people, even if it means less profit. Because you'll earn their loyalty, as well as a good reputation." I absolutely agree that the key to successful vendor management is that give & take. The essential combination of ethics and long-term (rather than short-term), thinking. Thanks for the helpful response!

    14/09/2015 07:24PM

  • Ed Nagy

    11/09/2015 06:01PM

    Work as hard on building a good "Strategic" supplier relationship as you do building a good relationship with your customers.

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    Anna Duin Great perspective Ed! A complaint I option hear from vendors is that they're treated as "disposable," not as true partners in the process.

    11/09/2015 08:49PM

    Mainul Hasan Rumen MCIPS Hi, I would rather suggest for a structural approaches for SRM which consisting with 4 pillars: 1) Supplier Relationship Strategy, 2) Supplier Selection (CatMan and Sourcing), 3) Supplier Performance Management and 4) Supplier Development and Improvement.

    20/09/2015 09:48AM

    Anna Duin Great insight Mainul. Just out of curiosity, do you assign these 4 pillars any kind of differentiated priorities, or percentage of time allotted to each (do you find one more consuming than another?) Or do you approach them all pretty equally?

    21/09/2015 04:11PM

  • Anna Duin

    09/11/2015 05:37PM

    Thank you for all your helpful answers and responses! They helped me so much I wrote a blog about them.


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  • Ed King

    29/10/2015 02:18PM

    On top of some of the excellent advice already offered, I'd like to add honesty to the list. Be honest with them, and they'll be honest with you.

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    Anna Duin Agreed! Set the bar high. Thanks Ed!

    29/10/2015 02:40PM

  • Old Profile. procureme.co.uk

    27/10/2015 09:33AM

    My approach is to be the best customer I can be. This then usually ensures that I get the best possible service in return when the chips are down. Suppliers will tend to be more flexible and will relish working with you.

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    Anna Duin Great point Jason it's basic human nature, right? We're more likely to help those who have been helpful to us.

    27/10/2015 02:49PM

  • Grant Watling

    05/10/2015 11:49AM

    May seem simplistic, but for me the first point is to know who my top vendors are. Often easier said than done in large organisations.

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    Anna Duin Great point Grant. Taking the time to actually step back and evaluate, is essential, but easy to overlook (especially the more vendors you have). Does anyone have any favorite evaluation tools? A method/system of scoring vendors across time? Do you typically review vendors quarterly, or annually?

    05/10/2015 05:34PM

  • Noel Green

    05/10/2015 11:14AM

    Ask your key stakeholders how the contract performance could be improved and share this information with your suppliers.

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    Anna Duin Great tip, thank you Noel!

    05/10/2015 05:34PM

  • Quid Pro Quo.

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  • Breelyn Lancaster

    28/09/2015 06:57PM

    Stay on good terms with all vendors, negotiate clearly to minimize the chance of miscommunication, and it helps to have a method for direct offer comparisons. Ongoing supplier evaluation is critical. Treat suppliers as collaborative partners is also good advice. More of a list than a "top" best practice, but they all work in synchronicity (ideally).

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    Anna Duin Thanks for the wisdom Breelyn. Great perspective on making maintaining the relationship as an on-going investment. I think vendor relationships are like any relationship (romantic, friendships, or family), "one and done," communication and evaluation, doesn't work if you're looking for long-term.

    28/09/2015 07:46PM

    Breelyn Lancaster Agreed, well said!

    28/09/2015 09:08PM

  • Ed Nagy

    12/09/2015 02:12PM

    Sounds like a traditional Transactional buyer/supplier relationship often called an arm’s-length relationship. Here neither party is really concerned about the other party’s well-being. There is very little trust involved in this relationship and transactions may be infrequent between the buyer and supplier. There are rarely any big savings made in this kind of relationship and it usually takes very little time and effort by either party to go through with an agreement. These relationships may be for items that are not critical to the company, and it is not as detrimental if they run out of the item or the shipment is late. For items that have a more strategic role in a firms operations or business, a Collaborative Relationships may be explored. A collaborative relationship is one of mutual benefit to both parties. There is a varying level of trust, but some is required. Companies will work together for increased savings and future innovations.

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    Anna Duin Great differentiation, Ed thank you. There's certainly, a time and place for low risk, low investment, but I think it's less often than many would assume. My background is in entrepreneurship, and the (wise) advice I was always given was not to trust people "without skin in the game." I think you're right, true partnerships are about equal vulnerability and investment.

    14/09/2015 07:14PM

    Anna Duin You're so right, I think increasingly, there is nothing "common" about common sense. Good luck with the tool shopping! If Request for Proposals are a pain point (creating or responding to them), I'd be honored if you'd check out our tool and see if it's a fit for your needs. http://www.rfp365.com/

    06/10/2015 03:46PM

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