Get strategic: tools for supplier sourcing and management

If you’re responsible for supplier sourcing, likely you’re under the gun to make decisions that will best serve your company and that will save time and money. But you also need to make sure your suppliers help you meet other key objectives and deliver value overall to further company goals.

That’s no easy task, especially since you’re being asked to do more with less, more often. Carving out the time to create, deliver and implement an organization-wide sourcing strategy and processes is difficult. To make matters more complicated, comparing and vetting potential vendors is usually not apples to apples, and such calculations typically involve multiple criteria or dimensions (e.g., cost, quality of service, etc.).

There is no single silver bullet, but we’ve got a couple of tools that may help you with supplier sourcing and management in your overall procurement strategy. Please take a look.

Our Ideal Supplier Map lets you compare vendors across multiple criteria and easily visualize this information in a spider diagram. The sample map below shows how three potential (and hypothetical) cloud services vendors measure up. In this case, we can see that despite the more superlative names, it makes sense to go with Integrated Cloud Services based on how they rank against various criteria.

Sample ideal supplier map

Let’s back up a bit. Our sample supplier map includes five criteria. Each one is an important vendor capability and characteristic. For this situation, we chose: cost, quality of service, expertise, innovation, and ability to grow.

Our ideal supplier map tool explains more fully what each of these criteria measures. It’s best to define and set your criteria against your company values, culture, goals and priorities, so that you and others organization-wide know how to assess potential suppliers and vendors. Discussing, determining and aligning on these measures is a key step in driving and ensuring consistency.

Make sure you adapt this tool so that it fits your organization’s specific needs. Add, subtract and revise the criteria in ways that capture what’s most important for your situation. Once you’ve established your criteria and articulated what each measures, you’re ready to assess and compare. We’ve set the scale from 1 to 10 with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best.

Try out the Ideal Supplier Map for yourself and see how it can help you:

  • Compare potential vendors across multiple criteria
  • Ensure that your vendors not only meet tactical objectives, but also support your company’s growth
  • Share and communicate your procurement decision-making process
  • Understand and weigh procurement tradeoffs

Ultimately, the Ideal Supplier Map is meant to help support your long-term strategy for sourcing suppliers and vendors organization-wide.

You can download the Ideal Supplier Map here.

Hopefully you find the map helpful and something that makes your job a little easier. While it won’t solve all your problems, it can help you vet and choose the right kind of suppliers.

Next week we’ll be sharing our Supplier Scorecard – a tool for evaluating and managing current suppliers so you can assess and improve those relationships, and determine when it might make sense to change suppliers.

Want to talk more about developing criteria to evaluate potential or current Meetings and Events suppliers? Contact us at (866) 337-7799 or

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