A vendor manager oversees the relationship between their business and its vendors (or suppliers). They manage these relationships from the start of the contract through the sales process and after, when a financial analysis may be of strategic assistance. These professionals must provide analyses to their organization on vendors, oversee costs, and ensure the terms of contracts are followed by all parties. They should also be able to identify trends related to product needs for their employer. Vendor managers must be able to build positive relations with new vendors and maintain good relationships with existing ones as well.
A vendor manager may be someone directly employed with a single company, or they may work as a subcontractor for several different companies. Typically vendor managers work full time in an office setting. This may be in the same location as the business in which they are performing services (an "in-house" vendor manager), or the vendor manager might have their own office location because they are working simultaneously with several companies.
Educational and experience requirements vary for this position depending on the company. However, a bachelor's degree relevant to their field of work is generally needed. Previous experience in a similar role is generally needed as well. Vendor managers must have excellent interpersonal skills, as they work with a variety of internal and external professionals on a regular basis. Excellent multitasking skills and good attention to detail are needed as well.
Vendor Manager Tasks
- Identify potential vendors and conduct research to determine who offers the best products, prices, and services.
- Coordinate vendors to develop efficient supply chain strategies.
- Manage company relationships with vendors, making sure contract terms are fulfilled and mitigating vendor risk.
- Create sales partnerships with vendors which benefit both parties.