when relevant content is
added and updated.
Vendors form an essential part of our team that strives to excel in our organizations and vendors play a prominent role in the implementation of our IT plans. The vendors include those who supply and install hardware, those who put in our networks, develop software, help implement application systems, consultants, outsourcing vendors, security reviewers, audit partners etc. They work for us and work with us to ensure completion of the tasks that we work on. They do contribute to our success and do so in different measures depending on the role that they have been assigned. It will therefore be in order to acknowledge contributions made by them.
There is no doubt that vendors are bound by the contract and have to perform for the fee that they charge. However the quality of work done by them depends to a large extent on the work environment that we create. When vendors are enthused, they put their heart out and accomplish more than what we would have bargained for.
We are all advised to treat vendors as partners and to work together with them to create new solutions that work for us. Vendors may be many, some who perform critical tasks, some who carry out small and odd jobs and others who perform routine but important operations, but all play a role in our success. They are worthy of being called partners and we should be treated as such. Such an approach goes on to improve relationships and thereby their performance.
It is important to have a formal process to manage vendors so that we get the best out of them. The vendor base should be rationalized and there should be a defined process for vendor evaluation, selection, contract execution and their deployment. Subsequent processes including project management with periodic reviews and mapping results to the agreed deliverables are essential to ensure successful completion of projects.
To keep vendors motivated it is important to acknowledge whatever good work that they do. While we may have punitive measures to make vendors perform, rewarding them for good work is more positive and goes on to ensure their full participation. There are multiple ways to acknowledge them. For example calling some of the critical vendors to a company function gives them a feeling of being a part of the company. Awards, rewards and recognition programs are wonderful ways of acknowledging their work. You could institute an award and choose the best vendor every year, or call over and honor a vendor if he really has been a partner in your progress and has contributed significantly. Some companies treat IT vendors on par with the material and other main suppliers and include them in their vendor conferences.
One other requirement of vendors is that we become their reference clients and speak positively about them to their potential customers. By agreeing to do so we get their appreciation and they stay committed to us. I remember whenever we had become reference points, vendors not only gave us heightened attention, they also charged us lesser so as to ensure out continued support.
Does it work ?
Well, it does. I have heard great stories from others and I have experienced it too. A small recognition goes a long way in keeping the partner enthusiastic and committed to the task. The focus should not be limited to ensuring their performance on the current projects but to keep in mind future relationships. Such vendors come back on their own to help even after they have completed their tasks and are no longer actively engaged. If they have helped us, it is but fair to acknowledge their contribution.