Online Induction >> Vendor Management System
Published 26/10/2021

Guide for an Effective Vendor Management System

Managing suppliers in an organization can be a hefty process, especially when a robust system is not implemented. In such a situation, vendor management is crucial. Well highlighted, vendor management is a broad term that describes all processes and procedures that an organization implements to manage its vendors. Vendor management entails the criteria for vetting vendors, negotiating contracts, minimizing vendor-related risks, and strategies for ensuring the safe delivery of goods and services.

Best practices for engaging new vendors

All potential vendors have to be screened before negotiating on the contract. The following factors are vetted to eliminate vendors who might expose the supply chain to risks.

1. Ensure financial stability
Determining the financial health of a vendor is critical for safeguarding the supply chain. Financial managers must screen the financial documents of the vendor to extract useful information for analyzing stability and planning for the long run. The creditworthiness of the vendor should not be in doubt whether it's a short-term or long-term contract.

2. Determine the location of the vendor
The supply chain has to be informed where goods and/or services are supplied from. The supplier should be located in an area with stable political influence and free from natural calamities. There must be an element of ethics in procurement because some regions have a negative reputation for the smuggling of goods. Procuring goods and/or services from such suppliers can negatively impact the reputation.

3. Check performance and experience of the vendor.
The vendor must provide evidence of long-term operation in that sector. The vendor with the longest period of service is viable for winning the contract. The supplier should guarantee a high rate of supply retention and can handle complex scenarios.

Though the supplier will provide the evidence in documents, supply chain management should not heavily rely on them because some can be biased. Visiting companies that have been dealing with the supplier will give accurate information.

4. Ensure vendor compliance
Getting the real picture of a vendor is screening the compliance. The supply chain management should request pre-qualification compliance by vetting all prerequisites for contracting with the company. The prerequisites include; ethics, sustainability, environmental commitments, community engagement, etc.

Managing ongoing vendor engagement

- Track vendor performance
Vendor performance is measured by on-time delivery of goods and/ services. A vendor scorecard is a tool used in measuring the performance over the supply period. The scorecard tracks quality, delivery, response, communication, lead time, and cost. Automating the vendor management guarantees full performance tracking.

- Track possibly of incidents
Incidents are real, and there is no formula for eliminating them, but they should be kept low. The incidents include; failure to meet service level agreements (SLA), breach of contract or termination, and lack of contractual term. The vendor management should ensure incidents are resolved once they happen and mitigation measures implemented. Also, use the documented incidents to predict future reoccurrence and use the prediction when negotiating for other contracts.

- Feedback
Vendors must give timely feedback on their experience in dealing with the company. The feedback is inform of satisfactory communication, pricing, contact with the supply chain management, and the challenges faced through the contract. The company should also reciprocate to provide the vendor with helpful information to improve the quality of goods and/or services.

- Regular training
From the vendor's point of view, training is offered to the retailer to understand the market trends, new government directives on production, emerging technologies that are hindering or favoring the industry, and the shifts in prices.

- Adhere to workplace procedures

The vendor must abide by the company's rules and regulations but not the other way around. The vendor must adopt the company's work ethics, working hours, communication channels, and corporate with the procurement department.

Screening vendors is a helpful onboarding process in an organization. It gives a clear picture of the vendor, experience, and possible inherent risks during the contract period. A successful vetting should start with the company establishing its business needs and then deciding on the vendor to settle with. A vendor must be approved if they meet the set principles according to the company and compliance with government laws.

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