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If you manage one of the 30.2million SMBs in the US, working with suppliers is likely an important aspect of your everyday operations. These B2B companies give you the goods and services that you need to present to clients. This is essential for maintaining a good reputation.
Supplier management is crucial for organizations of any size. Having a good management system allows you to ensure that your needs are met. Only then will your clients get the high-quality goods that they expect. Read on to learn what supplier management is and why it's important.
To understand supplier management, it's critical that you first know what a supplier is. Suppliers are legal entities that are not a part of an organization, but they sell goods and services to that organization. They're essentially B2B services that allow a seller to have the products necessary for selling.
Supplier management is the process that ensures that an organization receives real value from working with its suppliers. Those who manage suppliers ensure that the company purchasing supplier products gets items with value that reflects the amount of money spent.
There are many activities that effective supplier management professionals must ensure. These include, but are not limited to:
An organization that plans and conducts supplier management with defined boundaries and actions is likely to receive predictable and high-end goods. They also are likely to get these products in a timely manner. They can then provide their clients with the consistency they expect.
On the flip side, if an organization chooses to ignore formal supplier management actions and boundaries, they put themselves at risk. They're likely to get poor-quality goods and services on an unpredictable schedule.
There are a plethora of risks associated with an organization's suppliers, so having a clear policy that outlines the management of suppliers helps to eliminate some of these risks. It lets suppliers know the expectations that are in place and adequately measures their value in quantifiable ways.
This ultimately improves the overall performance of the organization that works with suppliers. Exposure risks are no longer a large concern and the organization can flourish.
ITIL® certification demonstrates that a professional is educated in IT service management. To receive this certification, it's essential that the learner demonstrated knowledge of best practices in technology. ITIL® v3, which was released in 2007, has a discreet supplier management process embedded within its service design life cycle. In the ITIL® 2011 update, the guidelines were updated to be as detailed as they are today. The following are key aspects of ITIL®'s current supplier management guidelines:
ITIL® specifically outlines what supplier policies may include and indicates that these policies should always govern how a buyer organization communicates with suppliers. They also discuss standards that suppliers must meet. Some of these policies include information that might appear in contracts and who owns data relevant to the distributed products.
ITIL® describes the necessary contents of agreements between organizations and suppliers. They outline basic terms and conditions, the scope of service, and relevant standards that the supplier must agree to. ITIL® also states that these agreements also should include information on workload volumes and pricing.
Supplier information should be stored in a secure and private supplier/contract management information system. This should be used in all aspects of working with and engaging suppliers. This system will be easier to search, organize, and evaluate so all parties can have the information they need prior to renewing (or terminating) contracts.
One of the best practices that ITIL® recommends is to categorize suppliers as strategic, tactical, operational, or a commodity. Suppliers can then be managed in the way that the category that they fall under should be managed.
For example, a buyer organization should spend more time managing strategic suppliers that have an impact on business operations. They should spend much less time managing easily replaceable commodity suppliers.
There are many ways that you can better your supplier's performance. This is, after all, the ultimate goal of supplier management. Some tips for sustainable improvement include:
Now that you know about supplier management and how you can improve supplier performance, it's time to get started. Get organizational IT training and get your corporate employees certified in how to apply technology to their supplier relations. When you start training in these vendor-approved courses, you will give your team new strategies for adapting to a digitally connected future. We look forward to helping you contact and manage your suppliers, so don't hesitate to reach out.
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