How to know that Your Strategic Vendor Partner is a KEEPER



1. Go for quality, not quantity with your vendor
The old procurement-driven advice on managing vendors was to have a huge portfolio of potential vendors, and put every procurement out to competitive bid, playing vendors against each other and applying pressure until you got the absolute lowest cost. While this can be effective in the near term, there are two risks. The first is rather obvious: if you always seek the lowest cost, you’ll always get the minimum acceptable output. This may be fine for commodities like connectivity services, hardware, and some IT services, but puts more complex endeavors at risk.

For an analogy to our personal lives, finding the cheapest gasoline is fine (as long as you don’t spend an hour driving to save a few pennies), but you probably don’t want the cheapest brain surgeon poking around between your ears.

2. Sample the goods
Wondering how your vendor will treat your Customers? Give them a call. Look for tips on how you are greeted, wait-time — if any, professional messaging on hold, and a knowledgeable and friendly answer to your questions and concerns.


3.Vendor relationships are a two-way street
A bit of advice … perhaps the simplest of all. While there’s no need to coddle your vendors, treat them fairly and with respect, and they’ll generally do the same for you.

I’ll never forget earlier in my career working for a large global company with a reputation for beating up vendors, that demanded I work from their office, and provided me with a cubicle with a broken chair, no network connectivity, and no cell phone reception. They “showed me” by significantly reducing my ability to be productive for them, all while paying a high hourly rate.

Invest the time and interest in a relationship, and ensure that it’s reciprocated by the vendor. Structure relationships and partnerships such that you both win when the task is completed successfully rather than creating an adversarial relationship that’s often to your own detriment, and you’ll often find your procurements and subsequent projects are faster and more successful.


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