University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee School of Continuing Education
Project Management Monthly: April 2013: Tips and Tricks
Partners Make Perfect. When Chosen and Managed Wisely.

It’s not earth-shattering news: Dedicated employees, reliable technology and happy customers help businesses run smoothly. Vendors, however, play a unique role in serving as an extension to all of these pieces. No matter how big or small the operation; there are always moving parts that can significantly impact a company’s success. So, taking the time and energy to hand-select your vendors, monitor their performance and build lasting relationships is vital.

Well-managed vendor relationships result in cost savings, higher-quality products and services, and more satisfied customers. In fact, when properly executed, those relationships can become mutually-beneficial and “vendors” can become “partners” – willing to go above and beyond, bend over backward and remedy any problems that may arise.

Although “going with your gut” may prove successful from time to time, learning the best practices to select and cultivate partnerships with the right vendors is crucial. Here are just a few things to keep in mind throughout the process.
  • Clearly define what you are looking for in a vendor before you begin your search.
  • Compare your options carefully, without getting caught up in dog and pony shows.
  • Keep in mind, the lowest price may go hand-in-hand with the lowest quality.
  • Understand your vendors and how you can foster win-win alliances with them.
  • Know that long-term relationships generate trust, flexibility and accommodation.
  • Above all, COMMUNICATE – clearly, directly, thoroughly and often.
When agile approaches are applied effectively, they can result in fewer costly end-of-project surprises. They can turn timelines into a matter of weeks rather than months and they can help businesses compete in today’s fast-paced marketplaces.

Prepare yourself to smoothly and effectively handle your contracts and vendors during an in-depth, two-day course this coming September at the UWM School of Continuing Education.


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