What is Vendor Management What is Vendor Management

Elaborating the Idea of Vendor Management: A Comprehensive Guide

In layman’s language, Vendor Management is a process in which the vendors are hired by an organization. These vendors are effectively managed in a way that is beneficial for the organization. 

A vendor is a supplier or provider in the supply chain. He is responsible for the further distribution of goods or products in the market.

A vendor can either be a person or an entity. Vendors acquire goods and then further distribute them in the market. Furthermore, vendors are not necessarily suppliers.

Understanding the Basics

Companies are usually focused on developing and manufacturing goods. Hence, small and medium-scale businesses outsource the distribution role to third parties. These third parties are known as Vendors. 

Now, management is a procedure under which vendors are recruited. Further, they are managed by the company. Organizations use management strategy in a way that helps the company favorably.

Vendor Management is an end-to-end process. It is a process used by organizations to manage and handle their vendors. The Management process includes:

  • Segmentation and collaboration
  • Implementation and evaluation
  • Onboarding and contracting
  • Active management and delivery
  • Setting objectives, establishing vendor selection criteria
  • Negotiating contracts, strategizing for risk reduction
  • Controlling for cost and delivery and continuous improvement.

Now, let us understand management through the following example:

A furniture manufacturing company will collect all the raw materials. They are required to develop various furniture items. For instance, sofas, beds, dining tables, etc. Now, the company can:

  • Either sell these final products to the end users or
  • Can sell them through vendors like furniture selling shops. 

If vendors are hired to sell the products, the company needs to constantly monitor the vendor. This is for the betterment of the organization, as well as vendors and end users. 

Vendor Management System (VMS)

VMS is a software solution that helps organizations in finding and managing vendors. It is a complete solution that handles all the obstacles faced in managing the vendors. This software performs all the functions that a management team does.  

One of the best examples of a Management System is the SAP Fieldglass. It is a cloud-based software platform that provides solutions for various common corporate issues. 

Implement Rigorous Vendor Selection Criteria

Mike Breslin - Featured
Mike Breslin

My experience with ProMed DME provided me with valuable insights into the significance of vendor management in maintaining a company’s reputation in the market. One practical example involves our partnership with healthcare providers and suppliers.

By implementing rigorous selection criteria and continuous performance evaluations, we ensured that our partners not only delivered the highest quality products but also aligned with our commitment to ethical practices and exceptional customer service.

This meticulous approach directly contributed to strengthening our reputation for reliability and excellence in the DME sector.

Another instance highlighting the importance of vendor management was our navigation through the complex regulations governing the DME industry.

By thoroughly vetting vendors for compliance with federal and state laws, including HIPAA and Medicare standards, we minimized legal risks connected to non-compliance.

This not only protected our company from potentially reputation-damaging legal issues but also bolstered our status as a trusted industry leader who prioritizes legal obligations and patient safety.

Finally, in the realm of technology partnerships, specifically our integration with Parachute Health, we emphasized the need for vendor systems that offer real-time updates and streamlined operations, enhancing the overall client experience.

This forward-thinking approach not only smoothed out the operational aspect of supplying medical equipment but also significantly improved patient satisfaction.

By focusing on the end-user experience through our choice and management of vendors, ProMed DME solidified its reputation as a customer-centric and innovative DME supplier, always looking to leverage technology for better health outcomes.

Mike Breslin, CEO, ProMed DME

Unlocking the Value of Effective Supplier Relations

Management is an important aspect of the company’s success. Let us further understand its importance:

Helps Controlling Costs

management helps in the following:

  • Minimizing clerical work.
  • Enhancing communication between customers and office departments.
  • Improving transparency in the organization.
  • Simplification of procedures for effective operations.

All of these factors help achieve higher cost savings. 

Minimizes Risk

Management helps identify potential vendors. Furthermore, it helps identify unexpected risk factors. These risk elements are associated with suppliers and their adherence to different rules.

Additionally, management helps in tracking the suppliers. In case of any fraudulent activity, the company can take precautionary measures. A company can also appoint an alternate supplier. 

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Photo by Jason Briscoe/Unsplash

Services to Customers

Management is not just limited to services that suppliers offer before selling a product. It also tracks vendors to evaluate whether they meet consumers’ demands after selling the goods.

A happy and satisfied customer is a potential loyal customer. Hence, the organization should see to it that the vendors properly imply the post services. 

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Improved Performance

Proper management can help track suppliers and measure their performance. This is known as performance management.

If the performance of the vendor is not on par with the requirements laid down, the company can either:

  • Replace the vendor, or
  • Warn him.

Furthermore, good management helps in improving the efficiency of the vendors. This ultimately benefits the organization. 

Built Strong Relationship

Loyal and hard-working vendors who work for the success of the company should be treasured. Good management includes respecting and honoring your vendors.

Also, creating a close and strong bond with vendors is essential. A management system should focus on enhancing the relationship between the vendor and the Company. This will ensure a smooth process and efficiency in the supply chain.  

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Photo by Mina Rad /Unsplash

Safeguarding Reputation

A company’s reputation is very crucial. It takes years to build the brand. A management system ensures that the reputation of the company is not harmed by the negligence of the vendors associated with the company.

Moreover, customers relate vendors to manufacturers. Even if it is the fault of the vendor, the ultimate blame would be on the organization. Hence, management should focus on safeguarding the company’s reputation by keeping track of vendors closely

Correct Usage of Resources

It’s a long and expensive process to identify and hire vendors one by one. However, having an efficient management system in place helps in easing down the whole process.

A management system helps in identifying vendors with their strengths and weaknesses. This further helps in the decision-making process. Additionally, it also has all the required vendor data. For instance, contact numbers, addresses, etc. 

Ensure Vendor Alignment with Company Standards

Sacha Ferrandi - Featured
Sacha Ferrandi

Vendor management practices are vital for protecting a company’s reputation by ensuring vendors maintain the same standards. Effective management involves thorough vetting, clear communication, and ongoing monitoring.

Selecting reputable vendors with a history of reliability maintains high standards and avoids potential issues. 

Clear communication aligns vendors with the company’s goals, setting performance metrics and quality standards. Ongoing monitoring identifies and addresses issues promptly through audits and reviews, ensuring vendors maintain integrity. 

Robust vendor management not only mitigates risks but also enhances reputation by demonstrating a commitment to quality and ethics. By fostering strong partnerships and vigilant oversight, companies uphold trust and confidence in the market.

Sacha Ferrandi, Founder and Principal, Source Capital

The following are the steps involved in an effective vendor management process:

Identifying Vendor

The first and foremost step in the management process is identifying a suitable vendor. The vendor must be able to meet the company’s requirements. Evaluating and hiring the right vendors is the most crucial decision. Wrong decisions can hamper the business.

Thus, appointing verified and professional vendors is of utmost importance for a long-term association. Furthermore, before appointing the right candidate, it’s important to consider the following vendor-related information:

  • Network
  • Margin taken by them/ Pricing
  • Reliability 
  • History 
  • Association with other organizations
  • Service Quality

Selecting Suitable Vendor

After analyzing and evaluating, it is time for appointing the vendor. This selected vendor shall work for the organization in delivering the commodities to the final consumers. 

Setting Goal

Once the vendor is selected, they must be made aware of the expectations set by the company. It is crucial to set objectives and goals for the vendors.

Furthermore, make sure that they meet these business goals. In this stage, the vendors are made aware of the company’s policies and their role in the organization. 


After verbal discussions, it’s time to put it on paper for future reference and create obligations for both parties.


Under this phase, the agreement is discussed. There will be ongoing discussions about roles and responsibilities, costing, pricing, and margin of profit. This is a negotiation stage wherein both parties will put forth their points and come to a conclusion. 


After negotiation comes the final contract. A contract is created between the company and the vendor. This contract shall be legally binding on both the parties. In case of any discrepancies in the future, this contract shall be referred to. 

Communication with Vendors

People having a discussion
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To maintain an efficient functioning of the organization, regular communication with vendors is crucial. Also, frequent communication results in strong vendor relationships. In this way, the vendors are aware that the company has an eye on them. Additionally, regular communication helps in resolving any issues faced by either party. 

Vendor’s Performance Evaluation

The next step in the management process is the performance evaluation of the vendors. Evaluation can be done on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or half-yearly basis. Furthermore, vendor performance evaluation may include key performance indicators. This means understanding the amount of work done by the vendor as he promised in the beginning.

If the vendor’s performance falls short, he can be held accountable. Additionally, if his performance is above expectations, he can guide the company in improving its policies. 


Vendors strive hard to attain business objectives. Hence, moral obligations are created for the organization to reward its vendors for the services provided. Rewards can be given in the following forms:

  • Increasing the margin of commission,
  • Bonuses or,
  • Extra perks or benefits as the company deems fit.

Additionally, rewarding is a way of encouraging vendors to perform well. Also, it helps improve the success rate of the company. Furthermore, rewards also encourage healthy competition between the vendors. 

Tech-Driven Process Streamlining

Philip Wentworth, Jr - Featured
Philip Wentworth, Jr

From my experience co-founding Rockerbox, successful vendor management is deeply intertwined with leveraging technology to streamline processes and enhance communication.

Through our journey, we’ve realized that establishing a tech-driven interface between us and our vendors significantly improves both clarity and efficiency.

For example, by implementing a system that automatically updates both parties on task progress and issues in real-time, we were able to reduce misunderstandings and accelerate resolution times.

A concrete example of this was when we integrated our payroll and tax credit application processes. Before this integration, managing the documentation and communication for various tax credit programs was cumbersome and prone to errors.

By moving this process to a shared platform accessible by both our team and our external providers, we enhanced transparency and significantly reduced the administrative burden on both ends.

The effectiveness of this approach was evident in the rapid increase in our clients’ successful claims for credits like R&D and Work Opportunity Tax Credits.

Moreover, successful vendor management should always include a data-driven evaluation process. Measurable outcomes and KPIs have to be established early on.

In our case, after introducing automated systems for tracking the performance and efficiency of our vendors, we were able to identify areas for improvement that were not obvious before.

These insights have enabled us to optimize our operations continuously, leading to better financial health for both Rockerbox and our clients.

Overall, embracing technology, prioritizing clear, real-time communication, and basing decisions on data have been crucial components of our vendor management strategy.

Philip Wentworth, Jr, Co-Founder and CEO, Rockerbox


Better Reach

Management in an organization helps in procuring the best vendors available in the market. Furthermore, appointed vendors usually have better reach in the market. Hence, they can deliver the products in areas that are difficult for an organization to reach. 

Helps in Understanding Customer Views

Vendors are the ones that directly deal with the end consumer and the manufacturer. Hence, they are the crucial link in a supply chain wherein they have an idea of both parties.

Vendors are in a better position to inform the requirements and feedback of the consumers to the organization. Similarly, he can introduce new commodities to the consumer so that they can try them. All this can be attained if the management is properly functioning. 

Constant Improvement

Management constantly works in a direction that strengthens the relationship between vendors and the company. Additionally, it also functions in a way that is advantageous to both parties. For instance, keeping track of vendors, managing the vendors, looking for new compliances, and so on. 

Automation Enhances Short-Term Rental Management

Garrett Ham - Featured
Garrett Ham

In my role as CEO of Weekender Management, dealing with various tech tools to streamline short-term rental management has shown me the immense benefits of integrating vendor management software into our operations.

For instance, employing property management platforms like Hospitable and using Guesty has not only amplified our efficiency but significantly enhanced our effectiveness in managing relationships and operations with vendors such as cleaning services, maintenance teams, and guest services.

A concrete example from our portfolio is the implementation of automation software for scheduling maintenance and cleaning tasks, which led to reducing human error and improving turnaround times for property readiness by approximately 30%.

This efficiency directly impacted our bottom line by increasing guest satisfaction, leading to higher occupancy rates and more repeat business.

Vendor management software allowed us to centralize tasks, streamline communication, and monitor vendor performance metrics in real-time, ensuring seamless operations across our properties.

Further, in leveraging technology for financial reporting and performance analytics via integrated property management software, we were able to automate payment processing and easily assess vendor contributions to our service quality.

This data-driven approach not only saved time but also empowered us to make informed decisions regarding vendor contracts and negotiations, optimizing cost efficiency.

The ability to dynamically adjust, based on real-time data, means we can preemptively resolve potential issues before they impact our guests, further solidifying the indispensable role of vendor management software in our operational toolkit.

Garrett Ham, CEO, Weekender Management


Finding a Suitable Vendor

Finding a vendor that meets the standards set by the organization is difficult to find. Also, if the company finds one, he should be at par with the rules of the organization. 

Tracking Compliances

When there are several vendors involved and associated with an organization. Tracking every single vendor is a difficult task. Additionally, checking whether the vendors are complying with the regulations or not is a huge task. 

Managing Vendor Relationships

When the organization is huge, its geographical market and vendor list are also quite vast. Hence, managing these diversified vendors all over the globe is a huge task for the management team. 

Communicate and Follow Up with Vendors

Frank Costello
Frank Costello

Communication, setting expectations, and follow-up are tremendous drivers in any good working relationship.

If goals have been communicated succinctly and agreed upon by a vendor or potential vendor, it behooves the customer to follow up and ensure everything is on track at any part of the process.

Conversely, if the vendor is having issues meeting demand, that information needs to be communicated back to the customer so that all interested parties can work collectively in creating a solution. Waiting until it’s too late to react doesn’t help anyone.

Frank Costello, Supply Chain Manager, Global Ecom Partners

Monitoring Vendor Performance 

It becomes quite challenging to evaluate the performance of vendors that are scattered across. It’s easy to manage one or two vendors. However, when there are a lot of vendors, the following problems are faced:

  • Tracking their activity and
  • Evaluating their performance.

Managing Contracts and Other Documents

Agreements and other related documents need to be updated from time to time. Upgrading contracts helps the organization to function smoothly. If there are a large number of vendors involved, it becomes an exhausting task to review and update each one of the contracts. 

Set Clear Expectations and Foster Strategic Partnerships

Gary Gilkison - Featured
Gary Gilkison

Overcoming obstacles in vendor management often hinges on the establishment of robust and transparent communication channels.

From my experience spearheading PacketBase, where we bootstrapped through critical phases to a successful acquisition, it became evident that clear, explicit conversations about expectations and deliverables were paramount.

For instance, when we were navigating partnerships and working toward aligning our marketing strategies with third-party vendors, setting up regular check-in meetings helped us stay on course and address any deviations swiftly. 

Another significant challenge is ensuring that vendor services or products seamlessly integrate with existing systems. This usually involves technical compatibilities which, if overlooked, can result in operational inefficiencies or bottlenecks.

In the development and marketing of SaaS products, for example, we prioritized vendors who not only offered the right technological solutions but also demonstrated flexibility and a willingness to adapt to our specific needs.

We often engaged in trial periods where feedback from our technical teams played a crucial role in finalizing partnerships.

Lastly, fostering a culture of mutual growth and benefit can profoundly impact the overall success of vendor management. Acknowledging that your business’s growth could translate into growth for your vendors encourages them to go the extra mile.

By sharing our vision with vendors and involving them in our growth strategy discussions, we managed to build relationships that went beyond transactional interactions to become strategic partnerships.

This approach helped us in navigating challenges more collaboratively, ensuring that both parties worked tirelessly towards common goals.

Gary Gilkison, Principal Analyst, Riverbase Cloud

Management Software 

Management Software (VMS) is a computer-based software. It was developed to increase efficiency and reduce flaws in manual management systems. 

Furthermore, finding potential vendors and maintaining their records manually is difficult. However, a good VMS in place can ensure that you meet and contact the right vendor. Also, it helps in the proper management of the vendors and other related compliances. 

Lastly, VMS helps in meeting business goals. All this is accomplished at an affordable price. There are numerous benefits associated with installing a VMS in an organization. 

Management tools alone are not sufficient to meet business objectives. Management best practices should also be adopted.

Key Features

  • Organized Approach: VMS enables organizations to have a more systemic and organized approach toward vendors and their management.
  • Extensive Reporting: VMS helps in generating data about the vendors. Additionally, it helps in evaluating the performance of vendors.
  • Quick Tracking: This software helps in tracking numerous vendors spread all over. It also has all the details that help save time and money.
  • Better Compliance: Companies can use VMS to implement the company policy regulations. All the vendors associated with the organization should abide by these rules.

Few Best Management Software

  • Gatekeeper is helpful for large organizations who find difficulty in the implementation of regulations. It also provides security measures to protect the organization from third parties.  
  • SAP Fieldglass is one of the leading management systems. Furthermore, it has an amazing set of features that include strong connectors and advanced automation capabilities.
  • Genuinty is intended to assist the IT Professionals. Also, there are tons of features for minimal charges.
  • Precoro is useful for assisting small and medium-sized companies at a reasonable cost. Furthermore, it has several helpful features. 
  • Onspring is just the right option for first-time users who just need some additional support. This VMS has the best customer service and training opportunities. 

Real-Time Monitoring Boosts Vendor Efficiency

Tracy Davis - Featured
Tracy Davis

In my experience leading TRAX Analytics, vendor management software dramatically improves the efficiency and effectiveness of vendor management processes.

One tangible example I can share involves the deployment of our Clean+Inspect and SmartRestroom solutions in various facilities.

These solutions facilitate real-time monitoring and analytics, which have proven to be invaluable for vendors responsible for janitorial and maintenance services.

By leveraging these technologies, facilities were able to reduce response times for maintenance issues by 40%.

This is because the software provided instant alerts to vendors about specific needs or problems, allowing for rapid and targeted responses that traditional communication methods simply couldn’t match.

Moreover, the data generated by these solutions enabled a more strategic approach to maintenance schedules and supply restocking, leading to a 25% reduction in wasted resources.

Another impactful use of vendor management software I’ve seen is through API integrations that enhance facility management. For instance, integrating IoT devices through our platform allowed for dynamic scheduling based on real-time data.

This not only optimized vendor efforts but also improved facility operations without adding to the existing workload.

In summary, the efficiency gains and effectiveness of applying vendor management software in streamlining operational processes, reducing waste, and improving maintenance response times are substantial.

This experience showcases the potential of such software in creating a more responsive, data-driven approach to vendor management.

Tracy Davis, Founder and CEO, TRAX Analytics, LLC.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are Vendor Information Management and Vendor Relationship Management the Same?

Though both are handled by the same software, their functions are different. 

Vendor Information Management is a system that is used to record, save, update, and evaluate the vendor’s information. This can either be their personal or professional information.

Whereas Vendor Relationship Management refers to a system in which the focus is on enhancing the relationship between the buyer and the vendor. 

2. What Skills Must Vendor Managers Possess?

Vendor Managers are also known as Purchasing Managers. They are crucial links between the vendors and the company. They must possess the following skills:

  • Analytical – To analyze the various data and information provided by vendors.
  • Communication – As vendor managers are intermediate, they must possess excellent communication skills.
  • Negotiation – So that they can negotiate better with vendors on behalf of the Company.

Additionally, they should be aware of the current market trends and should adapt to them accordingly.

3. What Points Are to Be Considered When Looking for a New Vendor?

Typically, the vendor should meet the criteria set out by the organization. The following are a few points considered when evaluating vendors:

  • Product Quality
  • Reputation between customers
  • Pre and post-customer services
  • Pricing
  • Responsiveness 
  • Professionalism

4. How to Deal with Inefficient Vendors?

Firstly, the vendor must be contacted to discuss inefficiency in completing tasks and attaining goals. Secondly, if the issue is caused by the negligence of the company itself then that should be resolved. However, if the vendor is responsible he should be given a warning along with a deadline to meet the expectations. Lastly, despite the warning, if there is no improvement then the vendor can be replaced. 

5. What Is Vendor Risk Management?

Vendor Risk Management (VRM) is a process of evaluating the risk factors of a third party. A proper VRM will ensure that the reputation of the buyer is protected. It also keeps track of any unethical practices carried out by the vendors and shows measures to eliminate them. Furthermore, it is a method of establishing professionalism in the operations and administration of a company.

End Note

To sum up, the management system is a process used by an organization to manage the vendors. It includes activities such as finding suitable vendors, negotiating contracts, reducing vendor-related risk, and controlling costs. 

A good management system also safeguards the organization from loss of fraudulent activity caused by vendors. 

Furthermore, management ensures that the vendors adhere to the needs of the organization. Additionally, it also helps in monitoring the contributions made by suppliers in achieving the objectives of the Company.

An effective management system in place is not only beneficial for the company but also for the whole supply chain which includes the suppliers, vendors, and final consumers. 

Guest Author: Saket Kumar

Last Updated on by Arnab Nandi


  • nazish

    Nazish is a member of ICSI (Institute of Company Secretaries of India) and also double graduate in Commerce and Law. Currently a full time mother and a homemaker trying to mark a difference through the power of pen. She is a voracious reader and has passion for writing. She has positive outlook towards life. She enjoys travelling and discovering new places.

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