Effective Vendor Management

May 25, 2021 5 Min Read
Vendor management team

Photo from xframe.io

Understand What It Takes to Outsource Effectively and do Vendor Management Better

When outsourcing was initially introduced to the corporate sector, it was revolutionary. Fast forward to the present time and outsourcing is a standardized process for businesses. If you look at current job openings in the Tech sector, companies like InstaCart, Facebook, or even Robin Hood show the need for a skilled Vendor Manager to manage their outsourced business and be better at vendor management.

Vendor management is a critical part of your business. If your vendors fail, you fail. So, who are vendors? Vendors are the individuals and businesses that provide goods and services to your organisation and it is likely you will have to work with hundreds of different vendors with varying contracts, pay scales and points of contacts. Getting this right is key to your organisation's success.

This is why it is so important to have a vendor management platform in place to manage these relationships effectively and ensure that all your vendors are meeting their contractual obligations. With the right platform, you can keep track of vendor performance, payment terms and other important details, giving you the visibility and control you need to ensure the success of your organisation.

Vendor management is a process involving research and vendor sourcing, obtaining quotes, negotiating contracts, relationship management, evaluation of vendor performance and ultimately compensation and payments to these vendors for their services. 
In my niche area of customer operations, I work with companies to effectively outsource their customer service operations. I’ve seen business process outsourcing from every side and have compiled a list of critical areas one needs to focus on to succeed as a Vendor Manager. Here are the highlights:

1. Contract and SLA Clarity

As a vendor manager, be sure you have read and digested the vendor management contract between your organisation and the outsourced company (BPO). Be clear about the agreed Service Levels (SLAs), Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and any other promises the BPOs will deliver on. If you get to be part of the contract negotiation, work to ensure that SLAs are realistic.

2. Data Reporting

Build a specific internal Vendor Manager dashboard, embedded with key metrics for the agents and your organisation. Monitor this daily to ensure performance is optimal. Also, work with your BPO to ensure they send you weekly updates based on mutually available data to ensure you are operating, improving, or pivoting based on the same set of information. Finally, focus on your customer survey data and ensure you are getting the right insights from your customers. If after a certain point you think the survey form needs to be modified, go ahead and make the necessary change(s).

3. Training

Work with the BPO’s training team to ensure that the trainers assigned to your business are well versed in the products and specific issues of your business. As the agents progress, look at your data for topics agents struggle with and ensure those are managed in training.

4. Stakeholder Management

To showcase your ability to manage a BPO well, it is important to schedule Quarterly/Monthly Business Reviews (QBRs/MBRs) with upper management. This is where you and the BPOs present slides or reports outlining how the business has been progressing. This is the opportunity to talk about future business opportunities, upcoming changes, and improvements that will be beneficial for the business. QBRs and MBRs that are done in partnership with BPOs help to build a solid relationship and ensure that the BPO’s management team is always rooting for you to succeed.

5. Process Improvement

One key goal as a vendor manager is proactively look for areas within the business that can be improved. Some areas that may be fruitful include: focusing on potential business process automation, reducing customer outreach for select issues, and looking at improving quality standards. 

6. BPO Appreciation

Agents love to be appreciated, and when gifts or coupons are given to them from the main office and not the BPO side, it is even more appreciated. Try to visit the agents where they work to foster a positive relationship. During QBRs and MBRs try to get some of your team to visit the site and show appreciation in person. This has proven to be beneficial in increasing motivation and productivity among the BPO team. 
In essence, if you can do the 6 things mentioned here as a Vendor Manager, you’ll be off to a strong start. Feel free to use the points mentioned here for your job interview because the points shared here will show that you know what it takes to be an effective vendor manager

This article was initially published on the SmallBizClub.com site

Check out how necole can help you improve your vendor management skills

Necole is a state of the art learning platform that curates personalised learning just for you. To find out more about necole, click here or email info@leaderonomics.com

Share This


Tags: Systems & Structures

Daniah Nair is the founder and partner of KDN Consulting LLC. She helps companies solve problems with their business processes that are outwardly visible and customer impacting. From her experience and success working with corporations in the East and West, she wants to share her knowledge with the wider community through her writing. Her expertise includes quality, compliance and regulatory preparation, BPO management, data analytics, project management, and organizational change management.

You May Also Like

a pair of man's hands holding "Yes" and "No" in his palms

Why “Agree to Disagree” Stinks and What to Say Instead for Better Work Relationships

By Karin Hurt and David Dye. "Agree to disagree” may seem peaceful but can halt productive work conversations. Discover better phrases to resolve conflict and foster collaboration.

May 30, 2024 6 Min Read

Roshan Thiran and Lee Lung Nien on hiring

How To Hire Better

In this almost casual conversation, we capture CEO of Citibank, Lee Lung Nien sharing his secrets on hiring great people to Roshan Thiran. Watch these amazing dialogue to learn how to hire better

Sep 08, 2018 4 Min Video

Be a Leader's Digest Reader