Lessons in Vendor and Category Management

vendor relations and category management

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Diane Bradley discusses how CSP modules on vendor relations and category management improved her vendor management and negotiation skills.

I would like to start my essay by saying "thank you." BNY Mellon has invested in its employees and is providing us with this training. I feel that is something that should be recognized, and I do appreciate the opportunity to expand my knowledge, which will ultimately increase my value with the bank. With that said, the SIG University training has provided me with a lot of valuable information and has also given me guidance, which I have started applying in my day-to-day activities.

I feel the units focusing on vendor relations have been extremely helpful. As I continue to negotiate more and more contracts, I have reminded myself to go into the call with my goals established and I have them written down in bullet points, so they are easy to refer to while on calls. I have also made sure to have internal calls with the stakeholders prior to reaching out to the vendor. So when the call is conducted, I am confident that we are on the same page and present a consistent and concise dialogue. I feel this preparation has given me confidence, and I strongly feel that it is represented in the call. I am also very focused on the partnership that we are building with our vendors.  I realize I am an essential aspect of the partnership.  My dealings with the vendor will make a significant impact on the success or failure of the relationship. 

Category Management Benefits

A key lesson from this training that applies to my current role is category management and the benefits of being proactive rather than reactive. By understanding upcoming initiatives, we are able to review the agreements, determine if alternative solutions can be utilized, and when working with the vendor we have the time to focus and decide if savings are available. This is in contrast to feeling as if our backs are up against a wall, finding out a contract is about to expire and working as fast as possible to ensure service is not suspended. This lead time also allows us to review multiple agreements with a single vendor to determine if they can be consolidated. Not only can this provide cost savings, but it also is much more efficient for contract management.

In week 6, there was a lot of material on the various theories and the individuals that created these theories. For example, Porter's Five Forces and Kraljic’s Matrix. I found these sections to be very interesting. Each theory has its unique spin or twist on how the world of sourcing works. Each was very insightful and well thought out. Because I am a visual person, the diagrams on the slides were beneficial and helped me to understand the flow and ideas behind the theories.   

>>Learn more: Discover The Three Questions To Ask When Framing Technology Decisions in Procurement Functions <<

Sourcing Glossary Benefits

The last key element of this training that I would like to discuss is defining the terminology that is used in the world of sourcing. I feel, at times, I have been guessing at a term used in a conversation with both stakeholders and vendors. Going through this training, I have taken many notes and I will be sure to use the terms and key ideas correctly.  For example, in week 2 there is a unit that talks about Business Analytics. Analytics is a word that we use and hear in so many conversations. In the SIG training, it was discussed how business analytics are used in the supply chain and the benefits of using these tools.

I think so often we are rushed and it is difficult to conduct proper reviews. This section was a reminder of how important it is to review the data accurately and to be sure and access data from the appropriate sources. Another example of terminology I was happy to see clearly defined was the "modeling process" and the six steps (define the project, explore the data, prepare the data, create the model, deploy the model and manage the model).

By going through examples and the benefits of each step, it is helpful to see the whole picture and how each step is essential. If we skip a stage along the way, it could significantly impact the final result. The models that were provided in the “manage the model" step are a great reference. I have not used a specific model in the past, but I feel that going forward I may use this information as a guide when working with stakeholders and reviewing the current relationship with a vendor. 

The Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program is a 10-week course that focuses on the hard and soft skills of sourcing, including strategic sourcing and outsourcing methodologies, as well as best practices in negotiations.

Diane Bradley, Global Procurement, BNY Mellon

I have been with the Bank of New York Mellon for six years. My current role is within Global Procurement. As a member of the FinTech group, we focus on negotiating contracts for software solutions across all areas of the bank. This includes new agreements, renewals, SoWs, etc. Initially, when I joined the bank, I was located in Private Banking and held the role of Enrichment Specialist. My primary responsibility was to provide onboarding training to new employees and existing employees transitioning into Wealth Management.