Step-By-Step Process To Choosing The Best Vendor Management System

Selecting a vendor management system (VMS) is no small undertaking. Often, the process seems very complex, particularly if you are not entirely sure how to approach it. Plus, if you have numerous providers to choose from, it can feel incredibly cumbersome too.

Luckily, selecting a VMS provider does not have to be challenging. By following the steps below, you can navigate the process effectively and efficiently. Here is a step-by-step guide for finding the best VMS for your needs.

Know Your Requirements

Before you even start looking at VMS providers, you first need to understand your requirements. Gather data, perform interviews, and speak with stakeholders to determine what you actually need, what is nice to have, and what isn’t necessary.

Then, put your final determination in writing and collect any needed approvals. This allows you to have a concrete framework that functions as a checklist. When you evaluate providers, you simply compare them to your requirements and see if they match.

Search for Providers

With your requirements in hand, you can now start searching for providers. Not all of them are going to meet your needs, but you should vet any candidates that can handle your minimum requirements and decide which ones are worth pursuing for additional information.

Once you narrow down the list, write a Request for Information and send it to the providers. Evaluate the responses and create a shortlist.

RFPs and RFQs

Now that your shortlist is ready, you can begin sending Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Quotation (RFQ) documents. These need to have details about the submission, an executive summary, background and overview information for your company, detailed specifications, assumptions and constraints, any terms and conditions, as well as selection criteria.

Evaluate Proposals

After receiving information back from the providers, it is critical to set emotion, politics and similar factors aside. Your goal is to select the best VMS possible based on your needs, so rely on your requirements and make sure to give every provider a fair shake.

At times, assigning a numeric value to each requirement can make it easier to come to a decision, allowing you to create a weighted scoring system. With this approach, you identify what the provider can and cannot do, total up their score and select a winner based on the results. It is a great way to make a choice based on facts and not feelings.

Negotiate the Contract

When you are selecting a provider, you are entering into a partnership so you want to handle negotiations accordingly. Know your bottom line (giving you a point where you can walk away if needed) and understand what differences you want to discuss before beginning a conversation.

You can also define any time constraints, critical benchmarks, potential liabilities, and known risks. Addressing issues like a need for confidentiality, dispute resolution process, and requirements changes is also wise.

Make sure you focus on being productive as you work out the terms. There may be some give and take involved, and the provider might not agree to everything, but if you know what is genuinely important and what you can or cannot sacrifice, you can handle the process well.

By following the steps above, you can choose the best VMS for your business. If you are looking for a VMS provider, the team at Apogee Managed Solutions wants to hear from you. Contact us to learn more about our VMS options and see how our services can benefit you.

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