Let’s talk about Vendors and Vendor Management (I can already hear the collective groans from everyone reading this blog.) I think I make a safe generalization when I write one of the top reasons companies dislike bringing on new products and services is due to the accompanying vendor management aspect – especially when the new product or service touches many different departments and stakeholders. The more impactful the product is, the more anxiety it tends to cause.
Bringing in an unknown vendor is almost like marrying someone whom you’ve only met once or twice; he or she tells you all these awesome and exciting things and by all means it seems like your future goals are aligned, but you have this little voice in the back of your head questioning how much of what this person says is actually true. While this may seem like a silly example, it rings true; most of us wouldn’t marry someone after a handful of meetings, and yet, we often face a similar situation in our work lives and in our companies.
I wish I could give you a checklist of items to consider when contracting for a new product or service, but I have no such fool proof list. So, what to do? What can you use to help evaluate and compare vendors when you are sending out an RFP or you are evaluating contracting with a new vendor.
My advice is to consider whether the vendor has a history of partnership – not business, strategic partnerships – but partnerships with clients.
Merriam Webster defines a partnership as two parties working together in close cooperation towards a common goal. Compare this with their definition of client: one party engaging another party for a product/service/advice. While it may not be obvious at first, there is a fundamental difference between working with your vendor as a partner and working with your vendor as a client, and this difference lies in the cooperation towards a common goal. Commercials aside, when a vendor acts as your partner, he wants to see his clients be successful because the success of his clients is his success too. In this scenario, if his clients are not successful, then he is not successful either. This mindset is a shift from traditional pay for good/service mentality; this approach broadens the definition of value by saying “Yes, you pay for what you get, but you also get so much more. You get our attention; you get our appreciation; you get our expertise and experience. You get us as part of your team.”
Partnership is incredibly important to me as SpendVu was founded on the principle of partnership, and years later this still remains as one of our core values at the company. Internally, we refer to all of our clients as our partners as we fundamentally believe that if we do not enable our clients to be successful, then we will not be successful either. We want to be your partner, not just your vendor. We want to enable you to run a lean, efficient supply chain, to make the leap to digital transformation in a non-disruptive manner, and we are committed to working towards this common goal with you as well as leveraging best practices that we have learned from prior implementations.
When you call someone at SpendVu, you are dialing a direct number to your dedicated account manager who knows you on a first name basis, and who is not only intimately familiar with your organization’s challenges but also excited to creatively solve these challenges with you.