Every day, the world buys nearly 2 billion Coca-Colas. Imagine the vendor network required to achieve this. For instance, the Coca-Cola Company works with 225 bottling partners around the world — and that represents just one step of dozens needed to get the product to market.
Even for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), managing vendors is a daily challenge. In the case of SMBs, using heavyweight enterprise software to manage vendors is excessive and unnecessary.
However, even smaller companies can benefit from vendor management tools that digitize, automate, and streamline many of the time-consuming, manual processes of handling vendors.
Let’s take a look at some of the top vendor management tools that every organization can benefit from without breaking the bank.
Billed as the “procure-to-pay” vendor management tool, Precoro covers the entire life cycle of vendor relationships, from onboarding to approval-process control, contract and purchase order management, invoicing, and payments.
Easy to implement and affordably priced, Precoro offers robust functionality to transform messy vendor management into a fully online, transparent system that reduces manual work and facilitates cross-team collaboration.
Precoro also gets top marks for customer support, which is an important bonus for SMBs that need quick responses and troubleshooting support.
Pricing: starts at $35 per user, per month, billed annually. There’s also an enterprise option
Suitable for: small to medium-sized businesses
Procurify makes getting a handle on company spending much easier — it provides procurement and vendor management software that includes a synchronized mobile app for on-the-go activity.
Creating and sending RFPs and purchase orders takes only seconds, and the catalog feature makes it much easier for staff to find and submit item orders correctly and quickly. Approval flows and three-way matching of goods received all create clear procurement processes that help companies make better vendor management decisions.
Pricing: available upon request
Suitable for: mid-market businesses
More companies than ever are using freelancers to supplement their workforce and save the costs of permanent staffing. Shortlist allows you to manage multiple contractors in one place, from selection and onboarding procedures to task management and collaboration on ongoing projects with third-party freelancers.
Tracking and reporting capabilities provide insights into contractors’ productivity and cost-effectiveness as well as thorny issues such as compliance, invoicing, and payments. Guided by clear insights and transparent workflows, Shortlist is a great tool to help companies get the most from their freelance workforce.
Pricing: pricing available on request; free trial available
Suitable for: medium to large enterprises
4. Zoho Creator
Create your own tailored vendor management app from scratch for an extremely low cost with Zoho Creator. Zoho Creator offers all kinds of building blocks that work together to create a vendor database, vendor contracts tool, and even a vendor rating system.
Zoho is definitely a worthwhile option for smaller businesses or those that don’t need complex vendor management software. Though the initial setup requires some time and effort, the user interface is simple, user-friendly, and worth the cost-efficient result.
Pricing: starts at $12 per user, per month; 15-day free trial available
Suitable for: small businesses
While Airtable isn’t specifically designed for vendor management, its hybrid spreadsheet, database, and workspace functionality make it a solid choice. Recently, both Google Tables and Microsoft Lists launched as direct competitors.
Airtable, however, is a long-standing pioneer in the area of workplace productivity, and its easily customizable interface — together with budget, invoicing, and resource management features — makes it an ideal option for vendor management. If you’re already using Airtable in your business, adapting it for vendor management is a convenient solution.
Pricing: free version available; paid packages start at $10 per user, per month, billed annually
Suitable for: all businesses
Some businesses aren’t looking for a full vendor management solution but do require supplementary tools to streamline their daily vendor operations and make them more efficient.
Jotform enables businesses to create, customize, send, and receive digital forms for many aspects of vendor activity, such as vendor evaluations, logbooks, invoices, and applications.
Form templates are fully customizable, from data fields to layout and design, and form data is consolidated and centralized, so you can access vendor information in one place.
There’s an added bonus: A subscription to Jotform gives you access to thousands of customizable digital form templates for every kind of business requirement.
Pricing: free Starter plan available; paid packages start at $34 per month
Suitable for: all businesses
Successful vendor management is within reach
Companies like Coca-Cola may need massive (and expensive) enterprise software to successfully manage vendors. However, there are several vendor management tools that provide ample features and functionality without the excess options and hefty costs.
While efficient vendor management is key to a smooth, profitable business, your business can definitely achieve this with lighter apps and adjunct tools that combine simplicity and sophistication.
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