A vendor management solution centralizes vendor data – both for potential and approved vendors. This means, every department in an organization can access the vendor information it needs. No more sifting through your inbox for an old correspondence or emailing another department to ask questions about a vendor.
In this article, we look at what a vendor management solution can mean to your company.
Our work with vendor management solutions began out of necessity for our clients. On one particular project, we started as we always do. We began by talking with the information workers in the organization to learn about their pain points.
Through our conversations, we realized how employees in procurement had the same issue as those in the finance department and so on. No matter the department, workers were always hunting down vendor information. Procurement, for example, was searching for certificates of insurance. Finance was hunting dates and addresses. This “searching for information” caused a bottleneck within each department and across the departments.
In our follow up interviews, we started asking questions like,
-What if you could access a vendor’s certificate of insurance in one digital location, every time, without going to a specific department or worker?
-Would it be helpful to store a vendor’s information from initial contact, even before the vendor is approved?
-Would you like an automated insurance certificate tracker for all approved vendors?
-What if you could store and access a vendor’s information forever, even if the project was put on hold or the vendor was no longer supplying the organization but data was vital for reporting?
-Would updating vendor information in one location be helpful and efficient?
Overwhelmingly, workers in the interviews wanted these capabilities!
(Anecdotal note here – Their eyes lit up with these questions; they smiled in earnest. And they often added, “I didn’t know that was a possibility.”)
We brought our findings, as well as an additional proposal for vendor management, to the organization’s leaders. They were relieved to have many of the bottlenecks defined as one central problem – vendor management. And like many of their employees, the administrators did not realize how streamline vendor management could be until we defined the problem and detailed the solution.
Below are some key points to each vendor management solution built by us.
Placing data in a digital, central location is vital for efficiency. For a basic analogy, it’s like placing milk back in the fridge after every use. Each person in the home knows where to find the milk, no matter if he or she is making a bowl of cereal, baking a cake or pouring a glass to enjoy with cookies. The milk is in the fridge, every time.
When information is collected on a vendor, no matter which department gathers the information, it will be placed in the same location where everyone with need can access it. (Inside someone’s inbox is not a central location.)
Once placed there, the data never moves. If the vendor is no longer used, the file is simply labeled “inactive.” And if later it’s needed, the information is still accessible.
It’s common for public entities to start projects and then put them on hold for a variety of reasons. (You probably know this from experience!) In the initial phase of every project, information is gathered on possible vendors. And many times, this information is left in the sea of endless emails until the project is restarted.
From there, frantic workers (perhaps you) start digging through old emails to locate all of the vendor info. Often times, it’s then re-emailed to the interested parties, and the cycle starts all over.
This cycle of “search and share” is exhausting and time consuming. To put it bluntly, it’s a waste of time.
So, our vendor management solutions begin at the beginning – with the initial contact with a vendor – and goes through the onboarding phase if the vendor is approved, all the way to invoicing and beyond.
When possible, automate. It’s a saying we live by at Nexinite.
Insurance certification for vendors is an obvious task to automate. For a client organization, we created an alert when a vendor’s insurance was up for renewal. Need-to-know workers, along with the vendor itself, were automatically notified. Then, workers followed up with the vendor and entered the updated insurance certificate in the vendor portal. Workers no longer manually check for insurance renewal dates!
Vendor management is important for any organization using outside services. (This means almost every company needs a way to process vendors and access their information in a central location.)
We stumbled on this need for vendor management while initially being brought on for other projects. But as we talked to organizations’ leaders and information workers, we realized how disorganized vendor information often was. And when a process was in place for vendors, it was usually for approved vendors, not potential ones.
As a Microsoft partner, we leverage our knowledge of Microsoft products and the licenses you’re using to create a vendor management solution perfect for your organization.
Reach out if we can help you and your company.