Want to save money? Hire a Vendor Manager!

Vendor Manager, Talent Manager…whatever name you apply to describe this position, it was once the most under rated translation company role, which was a serious mistake, writes LBS Suite's Anna Kozubek.

Commonly considered mainly as recruiter of translators, vendor managers have gained more prominence in the last few years, proving that any growing LSP can’t handle its growth without a competent person to select and manage the translators database. Can a VM have an impact on your company’s budget? Absolutely yes! Let’s go even further: vendor management can actually help you to SAVE money!

  1. Risk management

Let’s start from the main task of your VM: searching for new, qualified resources. Your VM will receive hundreds of applications with different profiles. The proportion of fake ones would certainly surprise you. Then he or she will sort them carefully and, an extremely important step of the process, will test them according to their field of expertise. This step can be decisive when it comes to assignment of an urgent project with a rare language combination. You need to be sure that your resources have been already precisely selected and tested, so you can rely on them without hesitation. And of course, it’s not only a matter of trust, but also of money: if you engage new resources who have not been tested enough at an early stage, you take a big risk of failing, not receiving your translation on time, or delivering poor quality translations. In all cases, the financial impact is guaranteed, and makes it hard to catch up. The trust of your client is difficult to build, and very easy to loose. Bad translation from new resources could set back a relationship with a client.

  1. Generate the loyalty

Since we are talking about trust,  a VM will take care of existing vendors, listen and communicate with them to make sure they are happy working with you. An honest and caring relationship with vendors really pays off: it costs far less to keep loyal, competent freelance suppliers, than spending time continuously searching for new ones. As I said earlier, new recruitment brings more risk and is extremely time consuming.

This needs to be highlighted: with loyal freelance suppliers, you will build loyal clients. They will rely on you, being sure of quality and meeting deadlines.

  1. Keeping competitive prices

If your Vendor Manager keeps a large and well managed database, it’s literally like sitting on a gold mine! Not only you can be sure you won’t lack resources, so you can accept almost any project from your clients, but also you can easily manage rates applied to your vendors. Statistics on performance or average prices of your existing suppliers are crucial and will give you a solid base for price negotiation. It will make you more competitive in the market.

  1. Anticipating

A good VM will not only react to given situations, she or he will work under the pressure of requests from clients and project managers. A good VM will also be able to anticipate workflow pressure point to avoid facing a situation when there is a lack of available resources. Being ready for any type of project and any deadline requires good data and a strategic approach. This will minimise situations where, in urgent situations, you are being forced into accepting the most expensive resources that may not be entirely satisfactory. Rates of suppliers for uncommon combinations, doing jobs during the weekend and in a rush, can skyrocket if you’re pressed against the wall without preparation.

  1. The right person, in the right place

Companies that do n0t invest in a proper Vendor Manager position, often delegate these tasks to project managers, who, already working under pressure, are diverted from focussing on their main job. That has an impact on a PM’s productivity and can considerably slow down your company’s performance. The quality of their main job will suffer and so will the quality of recruitment. Skills that you require from your PM are not exactly the same as needed from the person developing relations with your vendors. Let everyone do their job as he or she knows best! It will be the most efficient and profitable approach.

  1. Appropriate technology

Your VM needs to be equipped with more than a pen and piece of paper.  Testing new resources, checking their availability, recruiting accordingly to the business flow, comparing rates, evaluating quality, keeping in touch constantly with your vendors requires technology to be able to manage these tasks efficiently.  In fact, the more you can rely on tools to automate these steps the better. Technology will provide analysis and reports about current business practices and support the VM to be efficient and make accurate decisions. Optimised VM actions mean saving time, and saving time is… saving money for your company!

So, what will be your next recruitment?

Anna Kozubek is LBS Suite‘s Operational Manager for Europe and North America