Turn vendors into valued partnersJune 13, 2012
“If you don’t integrate [your vendors] into the organization … and really explain to them kind of how things work, they’re not going to be as successful as they could be. Then, down the road, most likely, the business partner’s going to say, “You know what, they don’t understand us. We need to get rid of them. Let’s get somebody else.” You bring in somebody else, and I guarantee you’re going to have the same problem.” – Anthony Dal Canto, Director IT Asset and Vendor Management, Vivo Inc.
The problem described above may ring true for many organizations – you have brought in vendors with viable solutions, but they just don’t work the way you want them to. In this situation, the vendor may be performing according to Service Level Agreements, but they don’t go beyond what is expected of them as they don’t have an understanding of the organization’s business drivers. They aren’t forthcoming with suggestions, and they don’t work with the organization to solve challenges. Rather, the organization is left to independently determine how their issues can be resolved and goals met. They aren’t able to leverage existing relationships with vendors to aid this process.
The underlying issue organizations are struggling with is how do you move the vendor relationship to a place where it’s strategic, so that they are working with you, not just for you?
A key step in achieving this state is establishing open and on-going communication. Both parties need to share their goals and key objectives, which allows interactions to move to a strategic level. An awareness of the vendor’s upcoming products/services will enable you to co-ordinate your operations and timelines with their release dates. Vice versa, when the vendor gains a clear awareness of your needs, they will be able to go above and beyond to provide services and ideas to the organization, aiding you in reaching your goals.
Obviously, this sort of relationship takes a great deal of time and effort. An important aspect of developing strategic relationships effectively is identifying which of your vendors truly are strategic, and dividing your efforts accordingly. Doing so will allow you to concentrate on what is important for your organization, thereby gaining the additional value where it is most needed.
For more information about vendor management, see Improve Accountability for Vendor Management Excellence.This entry was posted in Applications, Research, What's New in Research and tagged contract negotiation, inventory management, service delivery, sla, vendor relations, vendor relationship management, vendor-management, vendors, VM, VMO. Bookmark the permalink.