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Vendor Analysis: Definition & Process

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kimberly Winston

Kimberly has been a business owner for over 11 years. She has a BA in International Studies from Christopher Newport University and a MBA in Logistics & Supply Chain Management from Kaplan University.

A vendor is a business that sells something, and organizations rely on vendors for supplies, as well as to provide outlets to sell goods and services. Learn how to conduct a vendor analysis by reviewing the definition and process. Understand how to assess needs and priorities, set goals and guidelines, create and edit a list, make a decision, and share results to select vendors who provide quality service. Updated: 10/14/2021

What Is Vendor Analysis?

A vendor is a firm or an individual that has a product or service for sale. Firms depend on a vendor's ability to meet their needs in order to efficiently perform the functions of their business. Therefore, it is important for a firm to choose vendors who are able to meet their requirements. Firms use a process known as vendor analysis to assess the ability of existing or prospective vendors.

Vendor analysis identifies the strengths and weaknesses of each vendor, then compares them to find the vendor that best matches the needs of their company. A vendor analysis is conducted whenever a firm needs to find a new vendor or review the performance of its existing vendors. Let's look at the process of vendor analysis.

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  • 0:05 What Is Vendor Analysis?
  • 0:50 Assess Your Needs & Priorities
  • 1:35 Set Goals & Guidelines
  • 2:18 Create & Edit a List
  • 3:08 Make a Decision &…
  • 3:33 Lesson Summary
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Assess Your Needs & Priorities

In order to understand which vendor is the right one for you, it is necessary to understand your firm's immediate needs for a vendor. For instance, a firm may open a new store in a different region and may look for a vendor that offers products indigenous to that area. Many companies review things such as a vendor's reputation, financial strength, sales, capacity, prices, services, payment terms, qualities, or reliability.

It is important for a firm to identify what is important to them and what their deal-breakers are. Finding vendors that are reliable, have competitive pricing, and quality products may be important vendor characteristics for a firm. A bad reputation or not offering certain services may be deal-breakers.

Set Goals & Guidelines

Firms conducting a vendor analysis should set SMART goals, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals, for what they want to accomplish. Setting a goal of decreasing inventory-carrying cost by 20% over the next four months is an example of a SMART goal.

The next step in this process is to set up guidelines that are easily understood. For instance, a vendor's quality may be rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the worst. The number 1 may signify exemplary quality, 2 may signify the product is a quality product but made out of cheaper materials, and so on, with each number signifying a worse quality then the number before.

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