A vendor manager is a middleman who provides an avenue of communication between a company and its suppliers. Most vendor managers work on a contract basis for various businesses, but there are a few who are employed permanently with just one company. A vendor manager manages contracts, conducts financial analyses, manages relationships, strategizes, and leads a team.
The vendor manager's first task is to find vendors and establish a contract. This requires thoroughly researching potential suppliers to determine which ones best fit with the company’s goals. After locating a suitable vendor, the manager must then work with the vendor to establish a fair statement of works that clearly defines the relationship between the company and the vendor. The manager must also negotiate a contract that fulfills the needs of both the company and the vendor.
Performing financial analysis that compares the benefits and negatives of a particular vendor relationship is another job of the vendor manager. This requires measuring quantities such as delivery time, customer satisfaction, and profits earned. It is important that a manager is aware of the potential repercussions that could come about if a bad decision is made, and the best way to stay aware is to keep a tab on all available data.
Another important role of a vendor manager is to manage relationships. A manager must utilize an intelligent strategy that keeps both parties happy. This may require engaging in negotiations, forcing a particular side to make concessions, or assuring one or both parties that everything is okay. The best vendor managers typically have previous experience in sales.
A successful vendor manager must also be able to think in larger terms. Every single transaction that occurs between a company and a vendor must have a strategically planned result that is beneficial to both parties. Obtaining the product required isn’t enough, and there are many other factors to consider including the price, if will the price change, and if there is enough stock.
Vendor management also requires leading a team. A typical vendor manager has several subordinates who must be assigned different tasks. Some will focus on ensuring strict quality guidelines, and others will be in charge of measuring services. Though the manager is the one who must make the final decision, he or she must be able to ensure that subordinates have the education and competency required to complete their tasks.
Managing vendors requires being a sales person, an analyst, a strategist, and even a leader. Vendor managers should be well versed with the ins and outs of business. They should also be experts in the industry in which they work, whether it involves medical supplies, electronics, or food.