When you work as a vendor analyst, you make a big contribution to your company’s success. You identify the vendors that provide the highest quality supplies at the best prices, and that helps to give your company a strong competitive advantage. You’ll be responsible for keeping vendors on their toes, rating them for their quality, cost and delivery performance to ensure they keep providing a top-notch service.
As a member of the purchasing or logistics team, you’ll have a background in procurement and an understanding of the factors that make a great vendor. You’ll need a minimum of a high school diploma and good data processing skills for this job. Higher qualifications will give you a career boost. The employment website O*Net Online notes that more than half of logistics analysts have obtained a bachelor’s degree. You also can improve your prospects by obtaining qualification as a Certified Purchasing Professional through the American Purchasing Society.
Your goal is to keep your company’s costs down and keep the essential supplies flowing. Vendors who deliver late, supply poor-quality products or hit you with unexpected price increases can have a devastating impact on your company’s business performance. That’s why you have to find and monitor vendors on which you can rely.
Before you search for vendors, you need to understand the type of supplies that really matter to your company. They could be critical engineering components or vital raw materials for manufacturing, such as steel. Without a reliable, quality source of supply, your company could not meet its own customer demands. At the other extreme, problems with stationery supplies or cleaning services will have a minimal impact on the business. So, categorize the supplies that are important and prioritize the ones that are critical to success.
You also will need to understand the critical factors for each category of supply. Quality might be top of the list for components, while timely delivery linked to your company’s production schedules might be essential for raw materials. The business website Mind Tools lists 10 criteria that vendor analysts can use to evaluate potential suppliers. Among the most important are competency to meet your standards, capacity to meet your delivery requirements, consistency to meet your quality standards each time, and cost to supply within your company’s budgets.
Armed with your categories and criteria, you search for suitable vendors. The Internet provides an initial list of companies that offer the products or services you need. By visiting their websites or requesting product guides and company brochures, you can obtain more information on their capabilities. Reading customer reviews or industry analysts’ reports will provide third-party opinions on potential suppliers. The research helps you to draw up a shortlist of suppliers that you can recommend to the purchasing team for further evaluation and selection.
Your job isn’t over when the purchasing team has selected vendors. You collect and analyze vendors’ performance against the important critieria for the product or service they supply. If delivery performance falls below a certain level, for example, you may recommend a vendor review. You also produce reports comparing the performance of vendors supplying products or services in the same categories.
Based in the United Kingdom, Ian Linton has been a professional writer since 1990. His articles on marketing, technology and distance running have appeared in magazines such as “Marketing” and “Runner's World.” Linton has also authored more than 20 published books and is a copywriter for global companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from Bristol University.