5 May, 2020

How to Manage Vendors: Getting the Best Results | Video

As your projects get bigger, there will come a time when you need to know how to manage vendors, to get the best results from them.

It can be tempting to see the relationship as competitive: one of you must lose, for the either to win. Nothing can be further from the truth.

So, in this video, I will discuss how the best way of managing vendors is with a collaborative approach.

This video is safe for viewing in the workplace.

This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

This video started with a question:

One of the biggest challenges I face at work is managing timelines when working with one or multiple vendors. Are there best practices for managing timelines while maintaining positive vendor relationships?

But I decided to tackle the bigger question of how to manage vendors.

It’s all about the relationship.

If you start adversarially, you will find yourself in an adversarial relationship throughout. Particularly with a contract that focuses on penalties.

If, on the other hand, you start collaboratively, you act that way throughout, and you reward collaborative working… Then you are most likely to have a collaborative relationship that delivers to time.

I like a very simple project philosophy…

‘I don’t care about the fault: I do care about the issue’

That is to say, tell me as soon as there is a problem. So we can all work on it together. Don’t try to blame someone else. And don’t worry about me blaming you.

Whose fault it is, won’t get it fixed

Surfacing the problem as early as possible, and working on it together will.

Set incentives so that everyone – all vendors and team members – share equally in success. Make it generous. And then everyone will recognize their best play is to help each other and not start throwing blame around.

As Louis Darga (Dustin Hoffman’s character) says in the film Papillon:

‘Blame is for god and small children.’

On my projects, I know you’re not one of those, and I don’t expect you to act like the other.

Do take a look at our detailed article, Project Procurement Management [All the basics you need to know]

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Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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