Supplier Management in Indirect Procurement


Supplier Management


Supplier management ranges from supplier qualification to supplier performance and risk management.  Starts with identifying the right suppliers who can give the desired quality. Suppliers must be checked against workplace safety, child labor and other social menaces. Next is to manage the performance once they have started working in the organizations.


Identifying and Onboarding New quality Supplier remains a challenge

All companies would like to keep adding quality suppliers who can provide best value for the buck but are limited by their knowledge of the outside world. For items under indirect procurement the huge time and effort spent on continuously searching the vendors often justified for the advantages which are actually realized. Plus the vendor base is often large and scattered across geography. The ability of companies and bandwidth of managers to identify and onboard new suppliers are also limited. Not to mention the time it would take for a manger to search, contact, negotiate and onboard a new supplier. The new supplier also has to be brought upto speed with practices of the company. Every company is different in its processes, payment terms, hierarchies and turnaround time. A new vendor has to learn all this and adjust. Research shows only 25% of the suppliers a company adds for indirect material are able to sink in with the practices of the company. Others may not be convenient with the process and try to compensate the friction by increasing their quotes.

Child Labor Audit

Apart from onboarding there are some other filters which every supplier should be put through. Social Audit is one of the important parameter. It includes an audit for child labor and worker’s safety. Many of the small indirect material supplier use child labor especially in the warehouses. As a socially responsible organization your company should not promote this. Periodic mystery audit for child labor should be done to prevent your organization becoming a party to a social menace.


Worker’s Safety

Worker’s safety is another parameter to evaluate your suppliers for. Best Of the organizations hire external consultant who audit the suppliers against following major work hazards:

Workplace Construction

Poor Equipments and Housekeeping,

Electrical – Wiring and Chords,


Lockout/ Tagout


Confined Spaces


Performance KPIs

Supplier performance part remains a challenging aspect for solution providers and organizations. Top management often wants supplier performance management to take place in the procurement system, because it creates transparency and removes the non performers.

Certain KPIs can be used to evaluate all suppliers (e.g. safety KPIs), but there should always be room for category- or supplier specific KPIs. Especially if an organization has very diverse business groups, a one-size-fits-all approach for supplier performance management is not ideal. Over the years many organizations have built their own category-specific dashboards and scoring methods. These should not be simply thrown away and replaced by the information in the system. It is best to work with the individual categories to design and configure the correct reflection of their performance management approach in the procurement system. Only by taking this approach it is possible to truly manage your suppliers and be able to work together with them, achieving higher performance.


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