If you are looking to build a successful, long-term relationship with your vendors, taking a proactive approach to managing how you do business makes complete sense.
Communication is key
If you want a vendor to fulfil your business expectations, it is important that they are privy to all the relevant information they need to know regarding meeting your needs. Communicate openly and freely with vendors about your priorities and goals, providing the relevant product information to assist with building your relationship. Get the vendor involved where necessary; for example, if you are having a meeting relating to an aspect supplied by your vendor, include them in the process.
Think long term
Managing your vendors will obviously involve keeping an eye on your costs and looking for ways to reduce outgoings; however, avoid constantly switching vendors in an effort to save money, as you may find that the quality of your offering will ultimately suffer. Instead, when working with your chosen vendor, try to forge a relationship that is based on trust and commitment. By doing this, you may even benefit from preferential treatment and access to insider or expert know-how.
Vendor management is not just about setting up and signing a contract and then letting them get on with things; in addition, it is about monitoring and managing processes and making changes if necessary, such as using contract management systems from a provider such as https://www.contractswise.com/.
To monitor and assess the success of your relationships with vendors, it is a good idea to put together a set of clearly defined key performance indicators (KPIs). According to Project Management Hacks, you should schedule recurring meetings to discuss any positive or negative issues with the vendor. Developing an effective relationship model means that the vendor will receive the full spectrum of feedback rather than simply hearing about the problems.
Understand your vendor
Working with vendors is a two-way relationship. To get the most from this, it should not just be about what you want them to achieve. Successfully managing vendors is about providing knowledge or resources to the vendor that could better serve you; equally, you should not be afraid to ask questions to understand more about their business, which will ensure there are no missed opportunities that you could benefit from.