Why vendor performance management needs a fresh approach

January 18, 2018 Lindsay Kroes

Filling out a pen-and-paper survey

Not long ago, a wooden suggestion box complete with a sheaf of surveys and pencils was a common sight in most restaurants and stores. If you’re like the vast majority, you probably didn’t fill out those surveys very often.  

For good reason, too: the surveys were inconvenient, asked more questions than you wanted or had time to answer, and didn’t fit in with your busy day. There were drawbacks for stores and restaurant owners as well: while feedback is always welcome, the process of going through paper responses, finding the best ones, and addressing them, was tedious and time-consuming.

It’s hardly a surprise that suggestion boxes are a rare sight now, gone the way of the car phone and cassette tape.  Instead, customers may receive notifications on their smartphones asking for a review, or pass a kiosk where they can hit a ‘smiley-face’ button to signal their satisfaction.

Businesses can solicit feedback from customers in a way that is convenient and simple for the customer (leading to better response rates) and prompted in the moment when their experience is top-of-mind (leading to more accurate responses).  Rather than gathering dust in a box, feedback is collected in real-time, so managers can observe changes and intervene to correct negative trends.

In a world where technology has continued to improve the way we communicate and gather feedback, why shouldn’t your vendor performance management be as simple and easy?

Bonfire's VPM survey on a mobile device

The case for more frequent, more user-friendly feedback methods

Vendor performance is just as important to procurement teams as customer experience is to restaurants: it can cost time, money, and internal client satisfaction.

However, many procurement teams simply don’t have the bandwidth to collect feedback on vendor performance—and if they do, the standard approach and tools can look suspiciously like the customer suggestion box: long, complicated surveys with low response rates, sent out manually and infrequently.

To be proactive and stay on top of their suppliers’ performance, procurement leaders need to have a finger on the pulse of their supplier poll.  This requires a constant stream of data and information so you can determine trends and insights at a glance.

Technologies like Bonfire can help you streamline and simplify your vendor performance management activities.  Here are some of the reasons you need to evaluate the way you conduct your process:

  • Getting to actionable conclusions faster. Technology like Bonfire takes care of the manual parts of soliciting vendor performance feedback (creating and sending surveys, collecting and aggregating responses), so procurement teams can maintain an up-to-date picture of their vendor performance without the tedious and time-consuming work.
  • Intervening with performance issues before they become a problem. Frequent feedback gives procurement teams more visibility into the progression of contracts, allowing teams to zero in on performance issues before they impact the organization.  
  • No more pulling teeth to get survey responses. As many teams have learned from experience, getting contract owners to fill out vendor performance surveys can be a headache. Modern survey methods meet stakeholders where they already are—and in today’s world, that means mobile devices—and reap the rewards in their response rates.

See how Bonfire streamlines your vendor performance management:

Vendor Performance Management - A fresh approach

About the Author

Lindsay Kroes

Lindsay creates case studies, white papers, and other content to help modern sourcing and purchasing teams navigate the procurement technology landscape.

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