Onboarding a vendor in most organizations requires many manual steps, especially if you want to ensure the vendor you are selecting meets all of your requirements and doesn’t introduce unexpected or unforeseen risks.
How do you keep track of prospective vendors? Which have provided the necessary proposals, cost, technical information, references, and past performance? What about other required documentation like proof of insurance, or any necessary contracts? How can you be certain the vendor you pick is the right one work with, especially if they were not a referral?
You aren’t alone! Here is a quick reference guide Vendor Onboarding Best Practices:
Sourcing Preferred Vendors
Big tech software platforms, such as ServiceNow, have applications that measure vendor performance. Applications like these, measure and evaluate vendors removing the guesswork for you. You can review prospective vendor assessments, scorecards and activities before even speaking to a vendor representative.
You can source vendors by organizing them into groups, differentiating between key types like software and hardware vendors. Tools like these help you solicit a group of vendors, and a group of reputable options.
Vendor (and Customer) Self-Service
Self-service is a big advantage for both you and a prospective vendor. Vendors can start the submission process on their own timeline while you monitor their progress in real-time. As you receive submissions, be sure that you can manage and evaluate vendor responses in a single place rather than a separate window.
Set a Timer
In this digital day and age, time is money. While prospective vendors can respond on their own timeline, you want to make sure their time is aligned to your schedule. Make sure your bid listing includes an expiration date to limit the response time or alternatively, have an option to close your bid early if you receive too many responses.
If you are managing bid responses with email and spreadsheets, then this is a game changer. Your procurement solution should include an option to measure which vendors are actually fulfilling your scope of work. Manual processes can lead to a partial solution, but an automated tool can show you who the best vendor for the job is. Measurements such as contractor performance, contract requirements and conformance to specifications should all be measured. You also want a tool that can compare one evaluation to another to ensure you have the best fit.
After you award a vendor and the contract work begins, you must ensure they stay compliant to your standards. Your software tool should also manage compliance requirements and issues, like defective product or poor customer service.
Make it a Mobile Experience
While desktop is still tradition, using a mobile device for work is on the rise. When you’re managing a big corporate initiative, such as procurement, you must review your vendor progress at any time making a desktop partially accessible. Your procurement software should be readily available on a variety of mobile devices, such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop. If your procurement software does not offer mobile capabilities, there are several other solutions on the market that do.
Searching for the right vendor is a daunting task. You must ensure the partnership is a fit and you get the most from your investment. However, the true investment starts with the right software tool to help you manage the process from end-to-end and provide you full visibility. Software such as ProcurementPath includes all the best practices listed above and more.