By JLL Technologies

Build better vendor relationships with these tech-driven best practices

Breakdowns in communication between facility managers and vendors are unfortunately commonplace and chip away at good professional relationships over time.

Duplicate orders alone are a persistent problem. An average of 1.5% of payments paid each year by organizations go to cover duplicate or incorrect orders, according to CFO.

Facility managers (FMs) are responsible for working through these miscommunications daily—often without support to make the process more manageable. But finely tuned tools for organizing and automating vendor management are within reach. You’ll typically find these solutions built into a comprehensive computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) such as Corrigo.

Here are a few best practices to establish and maintain long-term, value-driving vendor relationships as quickly and as reliably as possible.

Establish trust early with vetted introductions

A good recommendation goes a long way when it comes to getting a new relationship off on the right foot. The same is true when it comes to choosing a new vendor, but most FMs have limited resources to vet new vendors beyond reviewing their W-9s and certificates of insurance.

FMs can perform more in-depth vetting by taking advantage of CMMS features like Corrigo Assure. Busy professionals can go back to resolving big-picture problems or emergencies, because they can rely on technology to maintain a short list of compliant vendor options from a database of relevant, pre-approved businesses.

Automating vendor compliance does more than free up an FM to focus on other, more pressing tasks. This approach also gets around the early guesswork and back-and-forth that can limit trust with new vendors before the relationship even starts.

Start a chain of ownership, and stop pointing fingers

Conflict arises when there is not a clear chain of ownership and accountability established between FMs and vendors. Often, it comes down to a simple lack of receipts. Conversely, when recurring work orders are generated automatically by a CMMS or another digital solution, transparency is easier to manage.

In today’s chaotic world, flexible responses to bumps in the road are a necessity. But so is having an automatic system of record that identifies when vendors (or FMs) aren’t doing what they agreed to move a service request toward completion.

The same automated system of record can also be used to identify and recognize vendors that keep (or exceed) their promises. This information is just as valuable for building long-term vendor relationships.

Eliminate disorganization that leads to double payments

Paying vendors multiple times by mistake is a big problem. Even when double payments occur due to an error on the side of the FM team, it can create awkwardness between parties that makes building long-term trust more difficult.

Part of the reason payment errors are so hard to avoid is because the process of managing payments is itself full of tedious work that is prone to mistakes.

Consider the value of turning that costly time-sink into a reliable, tech-driven process. The same CMMS tools can be used to manage warranty tracking—another common source of incidents where FMs end up paying for vendor services unnecessarily.

More tips for smarter vendor management

Successful vendor management is a front-loaded task: The more work you put in up front, the more you enjoy the long-term benefits. That’s why facilities management pros are always eyeing new ways to make those early efforts as efficient and dependable as possible.

Need additional strategies for making conversations with vendors smoother, quicker, and more rewarding? Find the tips and technologies you need to get the job done by reading our “Facility Manager’s Guide to Smarter Vendor Management.”