Guest Column | March 11, 2014

5 Ways To Make Implementing Vendor Management Easier

By Alex Rogers, CEO, CharTec

Implementing Vendor Management

There are many benefits for both you and your clients by bringing vendor management into your professional services stack. For your business, you can control the scheduling of outside IT projects, meaning no more surprise calls about the new T1 line going in. In addition, you don’t have to worry about the threat of surprise equipment sales or services that your company could have provided. The fear of surprise displacement from a hidden competitor — no more!

For your clients, vendor management allows for their office manager to get their time back, rather than spending countless hours calling for tech support. In addition, it eliminates the finger pointing and the going back and forth when dealing with Telco or system connectivity issues. Vendor management organizes all tickets into a ticketing system for the client’s future reference, so the offering should be well accepted.   

By managing the vendors, you are the one who decides who to let in. As the IT gatekeeper, you can ensure that only vendors that work with you and with your business are accepted in.    

As easy as offering vendor management is, there are some tips that can help make the transition a bit easier. 

  1. Identify the prospect’s technology vendors during the discovery and label them as a Level 1, 2, or 3 type of vendor. Examples of vendors include website companies, Internet providers, Telco providers, copiers, LOB (line of business) suppliers, etc. The level that they represent identifies with how many times the vendor is called upon. A Level 1 vendor may be the Telco company, who is called upon maybe 1 to 3 times per quarter — or even per year.  This would be a $25 to $50 per month charge added to your math problem. On the reverse end, a LOB vendor could be called upon 3 to 5 times per month because of updates or other maintenance and issues, resulting in an additional $100 to $200 a month service charge to incorporate into your pricing.
  2. Remember you are not taking the place of the vendor, but rather, acting on behalf of the business as a general contractor, calling on your subs to get issues fixed. Your main responsibility is to manage the tickets and their agreements.
  3. Always make sure there is an agreement in place with each vendor.  
  4. Get letter of agreement (LOA) documents signed that basically say your client has authorized you as the go-to person.
  5. Bring up vendors’ performance in your quarterly business reviews.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can begin to build a program that lasts for the long haul.