August 11, 2014

Choosing the Right Vendors for Your Business

In this economy, keeping your business lean and agile means outsourcing many peripheral jobs. For example, hiring a vendor to work your call center means you don’t have to employ and train as many customer service staffers. Companies also frequently outsource accounting, housekeeping, IT, and other non-production jobs. How can you assure yourself you’re hiring the right vendors to do the job?

Catalog Your Business’s Requirements

Instead of trying to evaluate all of the benefits and services offered by each vendor, make a list of the requirements your business has, and then search for vendors who can meet those requirements. Is a Spanish answering service important? Does your IT vendor need to offer mobile apps? Should your vendor be able to provide services at particular times of day? List all of the must-haves for the service before evaluating the choices available to you.

Decide on a Selection Process

How would you like to search for the vendor? Is it easier for you to contact each of them — hand-picking the ones you’re most interested in? Or, is it better to advertise for bids and let the vendors come to you to court your business?

Accept Proposals and Quotes

Next, determine what criteria you will use to make your determination between the competing vendors. Will you go with the cheapest bid that offers the services you need, or perhaps choose the one with the best references?

Monitor the Vendor’s Ongoing Performance

Vendor selection is rarely a one-and-done assignment. Someone within the company needs to track the performance of the vendor and report back on the success of the relationship. Also, be aware when vendor contracts come up for renewal, so you can negotiate for what you need the vendor to do.

Successful vendor contracts begin with the right search process to find what you need, for the price the fits in your budget.