No successful business gets that way on its own – especially the bigger companies. You need help from vendors who can offer supplies and services that you don’t have expertise in.
How do you choose the best vendors for your company? In some cases, they’ll have national reputations that make them obvious choices. In others, the decision won’t be quite so clear.
And you’ll always want to hold your vendors accountable for their performance. So here’s what you should remember as you evaluate vendors:
- Establish Your Own Performance Indicators…And Share Them with Your Vendor
Before you evaluate your vendors, you need to determine what criteria they need to meet to help you succeed. Share these established criteria with your vendor so they know you’re holding them accountable. If conflict should arise with your vendor, then you have a written document to refer to so you can settle any disputes.
- What Will Your Own Evaluation Method Be?
You may have dozens of employees who have contact with your vendor. How will you gather data from them all so you can form an accurate appraisal of your vendor’s performance?
You could also do your own audit based on your previously established criteria. You may email your employees a survey with questions that gather the data you want. You may invite representatives from your vendors to your headquarters to meet with them and do a review.
- Set a Baseline for When You Choose to Complain to Your Vendor
It makes more sense in business to stick with the same vendors as long as possible. Changing vendors frequently makes your business life stressful and unpredictable.
For your particular vendors, give them praise and constructive criticism on what they’re doing well and what could be done better. If the performance slips to anything bigger than a small matter, then you must have a tough and honest conversation with your vendor.
You’ll have to define what a “small matter” looks like for your company’s department.
- Give Poor-Performing Vendors a Chance to Fix the Situation
No company’s perfect. And it makes more sense to hold onto your vendors if possible. When you see your relationship heading south because they’re not meeting deadlines, notify your vendor as soon as possible. Call them. Put them on notice. Give them a deadline to fix their actions.
If they don’t meet what you need by your proposed deadline, then you have to cut ties.
Vendor relationships aren’t always easy. But they’ll be much easier to manage when you apply these four points to your evaluation process.