A vendor relationship manager is responsible for building and managing relationships with companies that supply products and services to his organization. He works to ensure that vendors meet or exceed their contractual obligations by delivering quality products and services on time. When a vendor relationship manager does his job correctly, he contributes to the efficiency, productivity and success of his company.
Good interpersonal skills are essential for this job. Vendor relationship managers must be able to negotiate and collaborate with vendors at many different levels. This requires good presentation and communication skills to ensure vendors understand their contractual requirements. Vendor relationship managers also need good analytical qualities to monitor and review vendors’ financial and operational performances. Managers must be good team players, working closely with colleagues in purchasing, quality, manufacturing and logistics to understand and meet their requirements and expectations of vendor performance.
Executives working in the related field of supply chain management typically hold a bachelor’s degree, according to O*Net Online. Relevant courses for a vendor relationship manager include business, finance, statistics, economics and purchasing. To become a vendor relationship manager, you need extensive experience in vendor management and the related skills of budget control, performance analysis and contract management. You must have deep knowledge of vendor performance metrics and be capable of using vendor management software.
Vendor relationship managers evaluate potential suppliers using criteria such as industry experience, capacity, quality standards and financial stability. They explain their company’s expectations and standards and negotiate contract terms with vendors. If necessary, they develop induction programs and provide training to familiarize new vendors with the company’s business processes and quality systems.
Performance management is an important responsibility of vendor relationship managers. They monitor factors such as delivery reliability, quality and accuracy of estimates and invoices. Using vendor management software, they track and analyze vendor performance and generate reports for colleagues in purchasing, manufacturing and logistics. Performance management enables managers to identify and manage risk. If vendors fail to reach their contractual requirements, they can pose a risk of disruption to the company’s manufacturing or business operations.
Vendor relationship managers act as the interface between suppliers and their own organizations. They keep vendors informed on developments in the organization or changes in market conditions that might affect demand for vendors’ products or services. They may involve vendors in production planning sessions so that vendors can integrate their own production schedules with the organization’s requirements, improving efficiency and reducing the risk of excess capacity or supply shortages.