Strengthen Relationships with Your Vendors to Drive More Value and Reduce Business Risk

Year end is a time most organizations use to review vendors and look for new ways to streamline and mature vendor management activities in the New Year. From contract audits to business reviews to vendor consolidation, there are a lot of things to consider.

So where do you start?

Over the next few weeks I’ll give you my thoughts on the three best places to spend your energy if you really want to drive bottom line results in the New Year. First up – it’s all about building relationships.

Great relationships require ongoing care and feeding to make them successful. Your vendors are no different. Companies that get the most value from their vendors are the ones that recognize the importance of creating a mutually beneficial relationship, then working collaboratively to make it grow and prosper.

Now is a perfect time to review your list of vendors, pick out three that are most important to you (because of size, scope or risk) and schedule a business review with each of them to honestly evaluate the current state of affairs and discuss ways to make the relationship stronger and more mutually beneficial in the New Year. In the business review you should:

  • Discuss what’s working, what’s not and ways you can work together to improve outcomes.
  • Review your contract, evaluate performance to terms, conditions and agreed-upon levels of service (‘SLAs’) and identify issues that need addressing.
  • Share with them any upcoming changes or plans for growth you expect in the New Year, and ask for ideas on how they can help.
  • Get their perspective on trends, best practices and new technologies that you should be exploring in the next 12-24 months.

Remember – a business review is not the same as a lunch meeting. Create a formal setting, develop a thoughtful agenda and carve out an appropriate amount of time to really dig in to the conversation.

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