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Managing Your Suppliers with Project Management Templates

February 12 2007

Project Management Templates for Supplier Management

As a Project Manager, you will often use suppliers to help you to deliver projects. But managing supplier performance can be challenging at the best of times! How can you ensure that your supplier delivers the right goods, at the right time and the right quality? You can do this and get the most out of your supplier performance, by taking these:

3 Steps to Managing Suppliers

To manage suppliers effectively, you need to put in place a Procurement Management process. Procurement Management is the process of managing the supplier’s delivery of a scope of work within a project. By controlling the scope of work provided by suppliers from the result in your project management templates and project management software, you can:

  • Ensure that suppliers deliver in accordance with the contract
  • Identify and resolve supplier issues quickly and easily
  • Get maximum performance out of your supplier relationships

The Procurement Management process involves these 3 steps:

Step 1: Issue Purchase Orders

For each item that you require from suppliers, you need to issue them with a formal “Purchase Order” using your project management templates. A Purchase Order describes the items you’re purchasing from them (whether it be a good or a service), the timeframes for delivery and the expected price. The process for the issuing purchase orders is as follows:

  • Identify Procurement Items: You first need to review your Procurement Plan to identify the items that need to be sourced from external suppliers.
  • Create Purchase Orders: Then document the Purchase Orders for the supply of these items to the project and obtain their internal approval prior to being distributed.
  • Issue Purchase Order: Each Purchase Order should then be delivered to the relevant Supplier. Upon receipt, the Supplier will need to define an ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival), providing the likely timeframe for delivering the requested items to the project.

Step 2: Fulfill Purchase Order

The next step in the Procurement Management Process is the fulfillment of the Purchase Order by the Supplier. The following procedures are followed:

  • Receive Items: After receiving the Purchase Order and issuing an ETA, the supplier completes the order by producing the items for the project. The items are provided to the designated location and confirmed by the project as being received.
  • Review Items: The Procurement Manager assesses the items to determine whether they meet the description in the Purchase Order. The assessment may involve a physical inspection or a series of reviews to ensure that the procured deliverables were on time, within cost and to the level of quality required.
  • Resolve Issues: If the review concludes that one or many of the requirements stated in the Purchase Order have not been met, then the Procurement Manager raises an issue. The impact and severity of the issue is rated, and the Project Manager helps lead the resolution of the issue with the Supplier
  • Accept Items: After resolving any delivery issues, the Project Manager accepts the items on behalf of the project team.
  • Approve Payment: The supplier issues an invoice to the project for payment. The invoice is then approved and paid and the terms of the contract for those procurement items are complete

Step 3: Manage Supplier Contract

During Steps 1 and 2 above, the project team need to manage the overall performance of the supplier, by completing the following procedures with their project management templates:

  • Identify Milestones: The first step in managing a supplier’s performance is to initiate a formal review to assess the suppliers performance, each time a milestone is reached in the contract.
  • Assess Performance: The suppliers performance is reviewed, to determine whether the items delivered meet the contract terms.
  • Identify Performance Issues: If any deviations from contract are identified, then a formal issue is raised with the Supplier.
  • Resolve Performance Issues: The project team and the supplier negotiate a satisfactory solution to the issues raised, and the milestone in the contract is approved.

And that’s it! By taking these 3 steps, you will be able to get the most out of your supplier relationships by closely managing their performance—increasing your chances of achieving project success!

Here are some project management templates to help you manage suppliers more efficiently: Procurement Plan, Procurement Process, Purchase Order Form, Procurement Register.