Managing Vendors – Articles by Jim Everett

Tips on managing vendors, skills and competencies required

Plan Vendor Manager Training

Posted on | March 23, 2010 | 1 Comment

Don’t wait until problems start showing up to work out what training is needed for Vendor Managers.

In a traditional organization where all work is done internally, the employee collective talent, deployed against a planned set of roles, yields what Steven Goldberg ( has defined as Total Realized Value. With employees managing outsourced functions and a set of external resources, this yield can be seen as “Total Leveraged Value”.

The more skilled employees are at managing vendors (or the sourcing and management chain), or the greater collective competency, the higher is the Leveraged Employee Value, and the greater the results will be for the company overall from employees and outsourcing.

An often overlooked area of planning in manager development is preparing professionals and other employees to manage vendors. This can be more evident in IT departments, because professionals have often received Project Management certification, which can incorrectly be seen as sufficient preparation to manage vendors. Project Management is only part of the overall capability required.

What often triggers the awareness that greater competency is required in the specific aspects of managing vendors is when delivery or relationship problems arise, there is visible waste, results and deliverables fall short, or vendors are felt to be in control or unresponsive.

When delivery or relationship problems arise, the required (or easy) fix may often be seen as a workshop or other form of training for the vendor managers. But during the training, when the vendor managers begin to review their work against the models and techniques presented, the inherent, systemic problems come into sharp focus.

Typical problems can include loose or inadequate definition of Service Levels, agreements that omit key assumptions, or absence of plans for ongoing requirements for vendors maintaining skills levels and knowledge of client processes. These inherent problems are not fixed by training Vendor Managers.

So, planning for training and building capabilities for Vendor Managers needs to be done as an upfront part of the overall outsourcing planning, and not as a response problems and issues arising once the work is already underway.

We have just added a new service – a detailed process and assessment for outsourcing competencies. You can read more at the Think180 site page, Capabilities for Managing Vendors



One Response to “Plan Vendor Manager Training”

  1. Cassie Smith
    May 7th, 2012 @ 8:05 am

    We are having more of an issue with training those responsible for vendor deliverables dealing with the vendors and their late work than anything else. The lack of respect and lack of understanding re: how this work gets done is rampant and needs to be addressed.

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About Think180

Think180 helps companies get best results with service providers (vendors). Our core product is an in-house customizable workshop for Vendor Managers, or entire teams who outsource. This has been run for many clients, including Palm, Philips, Harrah's, BP USA and Canada, Vantive, Alkermes, Avaya, Government of Canada, Fidelity Investments, Quantlab and others.

We now also can offer live and interactive videoconference services and webinars, Training Modules for team events, planning tools and consulting on Vendor Manager competencies, and 1:1 coaching for individuals with videochat (desktop and mobile) on managing vendors.

Call Jim Everett 310.346.8042 for more information to assess if these service are of value to you.

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