Whether you are shopping for goods or services, selecting the right vendor can be a long, but rewarding process. You may have issued an RFP or simply talked to a few vendors before you found the one that offered the right product at the right price. Do not stop there! Managing your vendors is just as, if not more important than selecting those vendors. Below are a few tools and practices you can use to get the most out of your vendors.
As the number of suppliers your organization works with grows, your effectiveness managing those vendors begins to deteriorate. SRM serves as a simple to use tool for managing your vendors in one database where they can be compared on price, performance and everything in between. Most SRM programs will also integrate directly with your accounting software which can open the door to automating your accounts payable processes.
Discounts and Rewards
Discounts and rewards are not always published but I assure you that they are there. It may take some stubbornness or tactful negotiating but most vendors are willing to drop the price of their goods and services from their initial offer. If quantity discounts are not available, try negotiating based on the length of your agreement to get the best price.
You should always be happy with the products or service your vendors provide. After all, you are the customer and the customer is always right! If you do have a service-related problem with a vendor make sure that you let them know right away. If you are not satisfied with their response, ask to speak to someone higher up in the organization. Eventually you will get to someone who will want to correct the problem. On the rare occasion that you do not get your problem solved it is probably time to look for a new vendor.
I would never advocate paying your vendors outside of terms but many small businesses experience the inevitable cash crunch. Many vendors are willing to work with you on payment plans which can help smooth out short-term cash crunches. The key to keeping the relationship strong with your vendor is to be very open and honest with them and never miss a commitment. Oh, and don’t forget to thank them!
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