For proper vendor management you need process unity and efficiency.  A vendor management process that relies upon disorganised documents, emails and spreadsheets for vendor key data, contract data, certificates of insurance and performance data is unlikely to be enough.  This approach can lead to failed compliance, missed deadlines, agreement breaches, overlooked volume discounts, insufficient payments and poor vendor selection.  You can replace these manual and time-consuming processes for an organised and streamlined process with these six tips. 

1. Use a vendor Q&A

During the bid process, organisations using leading vendor management software can give prospective vendors the chance to ask questions.

You can leverage questionnaires with specific due dates, so that vendors are only permitted to submit questions or answers within the period established, based on your buying needs.  After that set date has passed, you can customise your system to no longer accept feedback.  This gives you greater control over the timing of your bid process, as well as an expedited and more efficient way to communicate with potential vendors.

Your vendor management software system administrators can configure their system to send notifications to users when a vendor response is submitted or when due dates are approaching.  You can also employ options for how you respond to prospective vendors.  You can either respond to vendors one-by-one or provide feedback on a spreadsheet or MS Word document and make it public for vendors.

2. Rate and score vendors

Vendor response ratings and scorecards help organisations award the most appropriate vendors for their needs.  Bid rating weight control lets you control the weight of specific criteria over other criteria when scoring vendor bids.  This level of control helps you select the right vendor, reduce compliance issues, and leverage their budgets effectively.  Easy-to-adopt bid tabulation reports can be used to include scoring and pricing line items for a rapid overview of bid results.

3. Quickly create requests and advertise bids

Organisations using trusted vendor management software can create and manage document versions and templates with a pre-approved clause library that allows for the merging of pre-approved clauses and templates with request record data fields.  This means that you can quickly request documents and easily export them into standard file formats.  Once a request has been created, you can rapidly advertise bids publicly or set bids to invite-only, streamlining the vendor award process.

4. Integrate source-to-contract management

Leading-edge contract management software offers the integration of contract management, vendor management, contract writing and eSourcing processes.  Such integration gives you a one-stop solution for vendor management and source-to-contract needs.  You can integrate vendor management and contract management, rules-based approvals, eSourcing, automated bid advertising, electronic signatures, item management, searching, reporting, inventory fulfilment tracking, and more for centralised vendor management, sourcing and contract management.

5. Track key dates with intelligent automated workflow

Timeliness re important dates are critical when it comes to vendor management, sourcing and the delivery of goods or services.  For most organisations, observance of strict timelines is paramount for the preservation of a healthy vendor management process.  Even minor bottlenecks and delays can potentially have enormous consequences, so maintaining awareness of key dates and milestones while demanding timely vendor performance is essential.

A great way to manage vendor key dates and milestones is with the help of automated workflow alerts.  Cutting-edge contract management software can help organisations to configure email notifications and oversee who receives those reminders so that required tasks are completed promptly.

Furthermore, task escalation reduces bottlenecks even if an employee contract management software user fails to perform their task on time because multiple fail-safes can be put in place to help to move the task towards completion.  If you can leverage integrated vendor management software and contract lifecycle management software that helps promote a culture of key date and milestone awareness, timely task completion and accountability, you can shorten vendor contract lifecycles and optimise vendor management processes from requests to renewal opportunities.

6. Track vendor COI and other vendor data

Vendor management software can enhance COI (certificate of insurance) management and management of other documents by equipping organisations with the tools to import, store and manage the expiration of vendor contracts, track vendor data and run reports on COI and other vendor-related documents.

Contract management software users can configure data fields and alerts for contract records and vendor records, including those for crucial meta data for COI documents (insurance limits, certificate types, certificate expiration dates etc).  So you can easily track, edit and manage vendor and vendor contract data in one centralised location.  Third-party integration may also be available for the importation of up-to-date vendor data if changes are made in an ERP or another system.

Additionally, if you use advanced contract management software integrated with vendor management functionality, you can import nearly unlimited electronic documents to vendor records and contract records, including, for example, electronic COI documents sent by counterparties.

With intelligent reporting and analytics on extracted vendor and contract data, organisations can generate valuable reports so that important contract information can be shared among the right people at the right time.  Ad-hoc reports, such as those for contract amounts, key dates, milestones, expiring contracts, etc., can expedite data aggregation and encourage collaboration and sharing with a reduced reliance on IT support.

It’s time to transform vendor management

Stop wasting money, time, and opportunities with an outdated vendor management process.  Take control of your process with full vendor lifecycle management featuring self-serve vendor registration, helpful vendor selection tools, future-minded vendor tracking and reporting, terms and negotiations tracking, enhanced vendor performance tracking, and swift online collaboration. Efficiently, quickly and strategically manage and oversee vendors with Contract Insight®, the user-friendly,and robust enterprise contract management software with vendor management, from Four Business Solutions. Contract Insight has helped thousands of vendor management, procurement and sourcing professionals from a variety of leading organisations and a myriad of industries.

For more information, contact John O’Brien, CEO at Four Business Solutions, global business consultants and software integrators providing business processes improvements in FinanceSupply Chain and Operations, across a broad range of industries.