If you’re hoping to grow your business, it’s important to examine who you’re hiring, how you’re marketing, and, of course, your expenses vs your profits.
You should also audit your relationships with your vendors, recommends global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. The firm points out that organizations with strong vendor management capabilities — from vendor identification to vendor offboarding — see double the growth.
To make the most of vendor relationships, start with these steps:
- Identify and prioritize your business goals and establish metrics to track them. Determine which objectives you’d like to accomplish and when.
- Categorize and prioritize the vendors who will help you meet or exceed those goals. Knowing which suppliers are critical vs non-essential to your business’s growth will help in the next step.
- Once you know which vendors to prioritize, you can negotiate better rates and terms; nurture relationships; and improve your communication, collaboration, and productivity with them over time.
Though vendor management isn’t easy — particularly when it comes to disorganized suppliers, ever-evolving regulations, online security breaches, supply chain inefficiencies, and incomplete documentation — the right software application can simplify the process.
Overview of vendor management apps
The tools you implement company-wide — like vendor management software — can make a difference in whether your business achieves its goals.
To reap the benefits of a vendor management app, consider one with these features.
- Advanced reporting and analytics capabilities: By transforming data into actionable results, you’ll be better equipped to detect vendor needs, opportunities, and inefficiencies — resulting in higher-quality products and lower costs.
- A vendor payment system (or the ability to integrate with one): This feature allows you to process vendor payments within the app and provides additional visibility into contractual pay, overtime, and hidden costs. Plus, automated invoicing costs less and results in fewer errors compared to manual payment processing.
- Automated workflows: These will save you time, money, and resources. By automating manual processes, you’ll reduce cycle times, boost productivity, and improve your vendor onboarding process.
- Compliance support: Though organizations often overlook this bit, meeting compliance standards is absolutely essential for business success, especially when you’re working with different vendors, industries, and state laws. Fortunately, the right vendor management app can offer a compliance feature to help you mitigate risk, avoid fines and penalties, and manage all your contracts and insurance documentation in one secure place.
Top vendor management apps
Though many vendor management apps on the market include the features above, here are four of the most popular.
Spend-management platform Airbase helps users track and manage their spending by bringing together three functions under one streamlined platform: bill payments, corporate cards, and expense reimbursement. Airbase helps onboard vendors, eliminate expense reports, reduce processing costs, and provide consistent payment visibility for businesses and vendors alike. It also integrates with popular platforms like QuickBooks and Oracle NetSuite.
Whether you’re in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, or other industry, cloud-based procurement software solution PRM360 offers an easy, streamlined procure-to-pay process, so you don’t have to chase vendors and request quotes. With PRM360, you can seamlessly consolidate vendor agreements, contracts, and invoices; slash processing costs; and receive detailed, actionable analytics to drive better decision-making. Plus, thanks to its fully customizable interface, you can create a procurement platform that caters to your needs and those of your vendors.
With process-automation platform Onspring, you can manage vendor contract reviews and renewals, identify and mitigate risk, deliver external surveys, track and manage assets, and communicate and collaborate with vendors — anytime and anywhere. It’s simple to use and easy to understand, and it can improve productivity and visibility company-wide. Onspring offers real-time reporting — from granular to big-picture progress — leading to actionable insights, speed, and transparency that can take your business to the next level.
4. Jotform Apps
Online form builder Jotform is also a great tool for vendor management. Not only can you create and share customizable forms, approval flows, tables, and PDFs with Jotform to improve your supplier relationships, but you can also build your own vendor management app with mobile app builder Jotform Apps.
On top of a product inventory list, the vendor management app template includes forms for adding vendors and products and collecting product requests.
Here’s how to customize this app template for your needs.
- Navigate to Jotform Apps.
- Click Get Started Now.
- Click Use Template in the center.
- In the Search in all templates field, type in “Vendor App.”
- Select the Vendor App template.
- Select Use Template.
- Now that you’re in the App Builder, you can make adjustments to the app with Jotform’s drag-and-drop functionality, including adding a vendor, products, product requests, or an item to the product inventory list simply by clicking in the respective yellow boxes.
- To change your app’s colors, fonts, or overall layout, click the paint roller icon on the right to access the app designer.
- To add elements to your app — like a form, table, or widget — click the Add Element tab on the left of your screen.
- Once your app is customized to your liking, click Publish at the top of the screen to share it — via link, email, downloadable QR code, or an embed code to place on your website. (Pro tip: To preview your app as you design it in the App Builder, toggle the Preview App button in the upper right corner.)
While Jotform offers 300-plus pre-made app templates to choose from, you can also build your app from scratch — regardless of your programming experience — because it’s completely code-free.
By automating your vendor management and centralizing it in one platform, you can revolutionize how you build and nurture relationships with your vendors. With the right vendor management app, you can communicate, collaborate, and negotiate deals with vendors more easily and effectively than ever before.