What comes to mind when you see the words “vendor management?”
Technically, the term is used to describe the process of vetting, hiring and managing suppliers, but some board members or managers might associate it with headaches, lengthy email chains, and tedious paperwork.
If we’ve just hit a nerve, we’ve got a suggestion to make this process less onerous for you. Vendor management software.
What is vendor management software?
For condo and HOA communities with a large supplier base, or property managers who have established several vendor relationships, it can be difficult to feel in control of the vendor management process. Some compliance documents expire annually, and keeping up with just that task is a challenge.
Vendor management software can help you and your team streamline hiring processes, improve communications, and create more reliable, time-saving processes. Furthermore, it can help to reduce human error.
Vendor management software is an online, web-based platform that acts as a dedicated space for you and your team to manage all vendor-related activities. It’s like having one system to email suppliers, store compliance documents, receive quotes and create jobs.
How does it help condos and HOAs?
Vendor management software helps associations in several different ways. The biggest selling points are that it takes manual processes and streamlines/digitizes them, it expedites tasks so that materials or services can be delivered faster (thus resolving issues in less time), and it helps build stronger relationships with vendors which may allow you to negotiate better rates.
Unifies your workflow
The vendor management process starts the moment your association has a problem that requires a service or materials to fix. You need to hire the right person for the job. So begins the vendor selection process. Depending on the situation, you may already have someone in mind. But for uncommon jobs, you’re probably going to have to do some research and solicit bids or proposals. If you’re unfamiliar with a vendor, you’ll also need to confirm that the contractor has the appropriate insurance coverage and certifications. You may also need to negotiate costs. The list goes on.
But, with vendor management software, all of these steps are integrated into one seamless workflow. Using a platform like Condo Control, boards or management can invite vendors to submit quotes, give vendors access to a portal where they can add their own compliance documents, have private conversations with contractors before they are hired for a job, and much more. Once you find the best candidate, you can hire them with a simple click.
Creates a database for all vendor-related Information
Any information you collected from vendors during the vetting and onboarding process is readily available to you as you move on to the next step of the process. Instead of scrolling through emails to find data you need to create a purchase order, or having to create a new folder for compliance documents, you can perform a quick search for the items you’re looking for, copy the data to where it needs to be, and get on with your day.
Since the software is cloud-based, you can get your work done from any computer or laptop. Pressing issues move ahead in less time since no one has to come into the office to physically review or find items. And, since you’ll be handling far less paper, you also don’t have to keep trying to find more space to store all of it.
Allows for collaborative decision-making
A select number of vendor management software platforms, including Condo Control, offer users a generous amount of flexibility and customization. This means that permissions can be set so that only those who need them will be granted editing or approval abilities.
Customizable groups allow teams to work together, even if they aren’t physically in the same room. If all board members need to approve something, like a repair for $20,000, they can do so without having to schedule an in-person meeting.
Sets your condo or HOA up for success
Vendor management is a significant part of a larger process; it’s the first pillar of accounts payable. When you have a clear and organized process for onboarding and hiring vendors, then it’s far less likely that you’ll encounter issues when the invoice is sent to you. The information you collected at the start of the hiring process can seamlessly be applied to purchase orders, invoice approval, and payment schedules.
Is it expensive?
Associations are always working with a tight budget, and whatever vendor management system you have now is probably cheaper than investing in something new…right? Not necessarily.
If you factor in all of the inefficiencies that slow your team down, plus the mistakes or delays that are caused because of disconnected paper processes, you might find that you’re working overtime more often than you should be. Then there’s the cost of ink and paper.
While condos and HOAs will need to subscribe to Condo Control, they may be able to charge the cost of this user-friendly feature back to the vendors.
Benefits of using vendor management software
In addition to having a sleek, secure, online process to manage and communicate with vendors, boards and managers can confidently:
- Mitigate compliance risk
Setting standards before hiring vendors can help your community steer clear of legal issues or overspending on projects due to poor workmanship. The vendor management software helps you vet vendors as soon as you begin communicating with them. Moreover, it sends you and the vendor reminders when compliance documents are about to expire.
- Solidify vendor relationships
It is never easy to manage multiple vendors at the same time, and some relationships don’t work out. But, associations and management companies that can maintain some reliable long-term relationships with vendors generally end up in a more favorable position than those that are always hunting for the most affordable provider. Yes, price matters, but loyalty is very valuable too.
By providing your vendors with a painless onboarding experience and a useful vendor portal, their work experience with you should be overwhelmingly positive. People like working with people who are organized and clear about their expectations. When you collaborate with vendors and let them help determine how to best achieve results, it leads to valuable, long-term relationships.
- Control of cash flow
Communities find that it’s easier to control their cashflow with a digital system. Because the vendor management feature works in tandem with Condo Control’s accounts payable feature, the payment process becomes a lot simpler to handle. It’s even possible to schedule batch payments so that money only leaves the association’s bank account on certain days. Not only does this improve cash flow, but it helps ensure vendors get paid on time.
No matter the size of your community, good vendor management is important. After all, their performance has a direct impact on your community’s wellbeing. Some condos and HOAs have found it helpful to use vendor management software to help them improve operations and streamline tasks.
Since there are several different options available, communities are encouraged to do their research and ask lots of questions. But the best platforms will always be the ones that are easiest to use. A good program will benefit all parties involved in the vendor management process, not just those who are already tech-savvy.