Being a member of Executives Forum you would know employee job satisfaction is one of the key goals of all successful companies. Happy employees are more loyal to the company and its vision. They go the extra mile to achieve company goals.
Dissatisfied workers experience lower productivity in the workplace, poorer performance, more job stress, and higher turnover rates. Moreover, low job satisfaction can result in low morale and low loyalty to the company itself and to any outside Executives Forum.
Job satisfaction is defined as the extent to which employees feel self-motivated and satisfied with their job. Employee satisfaction covers the basic concerns and needs of employees, and is essential to the success of any business. Job satisfaction is a combination of intrinsic (kind of work) and extrinsic (working condition) factors. Salary, promotion, work-life balance, recognition and appraisals are important factors to be considered in employee satisfaction.
Make strategic decisions to create a culture of engagement and satisfaction. Engaged employees have a strong sense of purpose and leadership. They add value by pushing limits, driving growth and innovation. Employee satisfaction is one of the key metric that can help determine overall health of an organization, which is why many organizations employ regular surveys to measure and track employee satisfaction over time. As a Executives Forum you would understand that this is one way to assess whether your team is happy and engaged at work. It is critical for employee retention. Sadly, CulturalManagement has observed that this has decreased significantly over the past twenty years.
At CulturalManagement we guide you on how to easily collect and understand employee feedback to create an action plan that works. Few ways a company can improve employee job satisfaction:
- Provide a positive working environment.
- Rewards and recognition.
- Make work-life balance a priority.
- Develop skills and potential of workforce.
- Create open and honest communication channels.
There's an old supply-chain saying that goes, 'A vendor gives you the best 'deal,' while a strategic partner gives you the highest quality at the lowest cost.' This adage sets the stage for this article on Strategic Supplier Relationships ('SSR') also known as Supplier Relationship Management ('SRM'). SSR is defined as a comprehensive approach to managing the interactions and communications between an enterprise and its suppliers. The goal of SSR is to effectively streamline and make more efficient the communication and interaction between an enterprise and its suppliers. This is accomplished through increased process efficiency related to the acquiring of goods and services, the managing of inventory, purchase order processing, and the management of materials. The benefits of SSR are lower costs, less administrative burden, increased productivity, and a more integrated supply-chain. With margins within the food industry being squeezed, it is ever so important to manage COGS (cost of goods sold) aggressively, thereby increasing profitability. The objective of this article is to shed some light on how SSR might reduce costs and administrative burden, while increasing margins. There are well published examples of companies using SSR to enhance the strategic relationship between buyers and suppliers. In essence, SSR can be accomplished by following these rules of engagement:
1. Carefully evaluate and choose strategic suppliers. When choosing a strategic partner, be sure to take a close look at their business, including such things as:
- Financial stability (D&B)
- Client references
- Proximity to your network
- Management depth
- Years in business
- Use of technology (EDI)
- Cultural fit
2. Develop a clear set of expectations. Before signing an agreement with a supplier, be sure there are clear rules and expectations, including specific tasks you demand them to accomplish. There must be clear roles and nothing must be left to interpretation in terms of responsibilities.
3. Define goals and performance targets. Specific key performance indicators (KPI's) must be developed and tracked to compare suppliers and keep them on track. KPI's such as on-time delivery, expected lead time, freight terms, etc. must be included in a quarterly report-card for each supplier. When setting targets for performance, use the SMART method for developing goals. Each goal must be:
4. Monitor and rank supplier performance. It's always a good idea to use a scorecard to monitor supplier performance. Additionally, ranking suppliers from best to worst and sharing this data will go a long way to improve performance (nobody wants to be at the bottom of the report).
5. Conduct annual reviews for continuous improvement. Finally, be sure to meet with your suppliers to solicit ideas on how to improve productivity, reduce administrative burden, increase the use of technology, and lower costs.
A comprehensive strategic supplier management program will result in a significant reduction in administrative burden, lower cost of goods, and ultimately, improved profitability. The first step is to establish the baseline of existing suppliers in terms of volumes, frequency, and costs. Next, develop a clear set of expectations, goals, and key performance indicators to monitor quarterly. Finally, be sure to meet with your strategic partners frequently to pick their brains about ways to improve productivity or reduce costs. Additionally, be sure you spend some time teaching your suppliers about the culture at your company and the strategic plans for growth. When taken seriously, the steps outlined in this article will not only improve supplier relationships and lower costs, but will also have a positive impact on profitability. So, remember, vendors are things of the past; strategic partners are what make a difference!
The basic concept of Vendor Management is to "Manage your vendors or they'll end up managing you!"
Summary - A bold change of initiatives and an efficient use of database are the keys to successful Vendor Management. This offers a complete view of vendor activity and performance that is crucial for an efficient and cost-effective project. It helps in delivering a flexible, cohesive platform for enabling, engaging, and evaluating your suppliers. Though there are no permanent solution/fixes for enhancing performance, one can take specific steps to maximize effectiveness.
Often, we draw upon our experience to handle basic problems in vendor management. This white paper lists these basic problems which an organization might face if it outsources work to vendors. Once this paper is through, you can prepare a comprehensive checklist that will help you in getting the best out of your vendors.
The important thing is to figure out which vendors must be 'managed,' and which ones do not need 'management.' This might sound like an absurdity, but there is some truth to it. For instance, companies might monitor purveyors of office supplies for best prices and basic service requirements, but a deeper relationship is essential for strategic vendors who will deliver eLearning modules or content, on time and at the right cost.
A crucial step is to choose the right vendor. Begin with shortlisting vendors who have worked on similar projects and have a good track record.
Finding talented and efficient vendors at a reasonable cost can be challenging.
The implementation process begins long before the vendor is selected. The specifications should include the optimum rollout approach, with key dates and implementation success criteria. The entire process, from specification development to implementation, must be handled along formal project management lines. From the outset, there must be a Project Board that will undertake to do vendor evaluation. This Project Board should also have overall responsibility for the implementation of the project, otherwise all the knowledge gained-and decisions made-during the vendor selection could well be lost.
The Project Board should consist of perhaps no more than five managers who have the most to gain and, therefore, will take a keen interest in the project. Almost certainly, there should be representation from Personnel/Human Resources.
Once you have found several technology-based vendors that interest you, gather as much basic information about them as you can. Visit their Web site, interact with them and review their work.
Once an initial short list of perhaps four to six vendors has been developed, the first task is to compare the different approaches from these vendors and finalizing on the best possible option. A mandatory criteria is the budget and the confidence the vendor has in meeting implementation dates. What you should be looking for is the way the vendor communicates an understanding of your requirements and how these requirements will be met, as well as the way in which the vendor team members deal with questions from the Board. One of the selection criteria can be-do you feel comfortable with the vendor team?
Some other key considerations are:
o Experience: How many projects have they completed that are similar in size, scope, or content to yours?
o Strength of Company: Do they have the financial resources and staff size to complete your project and maintain it in the future?
o Quality of work: Have they received professional awards, published articles in trade magazines, or otherwise been recognized for their work?
o Resources: Does the vendor have full-time, on-site staff for all critical project tasks?
According to Sue Welch, CEO of Trade Stone Software, a developer of global sourcing and supplies systems in Gloucester, MA, "Wherever possible, provide value to your vendors when you are asking them to adapt to your business needs and requirements," she advises. "For instance, if you want electronic invoicing, offer incentives such as prompt payment or instantaneous audit that can auto-correct invoice discrepancies before submission."
o Determine how well a vendor will solve problems on your project. This is never easy. After all, any vendor will tell you it has excellent problem-solving skills. Here are a few questions to ask prospective vendors that will help to let you know how well they can really deal with problems:
1. What are the problems that you have come across while working on similar projects in the past?
2. How did you deal with those problems?
3. Did you manage to finish your project on time?
4. Were you able to complete your project within the sanctioned budget?
o Value addition -- Look for vendors who think beyond their assignments and can add more value to their projects. What you don't want is someone doing what they're told to do, just because it's a part of the Media standards.
o Develop a Triumph Relationship with the Vendor
We don't want to wield a big stick to beat up vendors, but we want to create relationships that allow both parties to work successfully in the long term. Creating a triumph relationship with the vendor is mandatory for good results.
Here are some tips for creating a positive relationship with vendors:
Tip #1: Proposal Process
o The Request for a Proposal is detailed in its specifications.
o Along with prices, proposals specify the quantity and quality of the media, interactivity, and content.
o A winning solution is judged on the quality of the firm's work, strength of the company, dedication to customer service, price, and quality of the proposal, itself.
Tip #2: Only one Point of Contact:
There should be only one point of contact who coordinates between you and the vendor - the Project Manager/Project Lead. Though each project has assigned team members, miscommunication becomes likely when several individuals are talking with different levels of each organization. For example, if the client is experiencing a technical glitch or bug, it might make sense for the client's technical support personnel to speak directly with the vendor's most advanced programmer. However, the project manager from the client and vendor should participate in this meeting or phone call to make sure that prior commitments or expectations are understood, action items agreed upon, and timetables are set.
This will help in filtering right and clear information.
Tip #3: Regular evaluation through progress meetings:
Following this simple checklist will help improve teamwork on a project. The vendor should be reviewed at regular intervals so that all the problems are solved at the initial stage. One can meet once or twice a week on a project at the given time with the vendor and discuss the project status. It can also include regular phone calls with the vendor and client. During these meetings, one can review the projects and make changes if required. Also discuss the next step and an update on the schedule. In-between, one can also make frequent calls to the vendor to re-check if the vendor needs any information and that everything is on schedule. This keeps the project moving smoothly.
Tip #4: Updated Project Report:
Regular updating of the project schedule should be maintained. The report can be a simple chart that is frequently updated so that one is aware of the missed deadlines or early deadlines. This will allow you to plan at an early stage so as to overcome delays. As you act as a mediator between the client and the vendor, you should add a buffer before quoting a timeline to the client.
Tip #5: Try and make all revisions on the prototype:
The prototype is a working module that includes the major sections of each step in your project. We should try and work with this prototype, get the initial approvals and refine the look, the feel, and the usability of the interface. Examine, test, change, and ultimately approve the colors, fonts, menu structure, location of the navigation buttons, and interface metaphors. The interface should be approved and locked-in before a significant part of the script is completed so the writers will have an accurate sense of screen space while allocating text and specifying graphics.
Tip #6: Make all content revisions in the script:
After the prototype, the next major step from the production team is the script or storyboard. It is very important to review the words, pictures, and sounds that will appear in the final program. Many clients give only a cursory glance at this document and then end up requesting substantial changes after the content has been implemented. It is very time-consuming and expensive to change content after it is implemented in the program. Unless there are obvious typos or mistakes in grammar, revisions to content after it is implemented should be avoided.
o Improved Vendor Performance -- Transparency of the project between you and the vendor is very crucial. It also helps you discover how to create and leverage opportunities to improve vendor performance.
o Get what you pay for - It is very important that the vendor delivers the product/quality that was agreed on and is your requirement. The above tip helps you achieve it.
o Just to remind you -- never accept vendors at face value. Analyze and test them at your level to build a positive business relationship.
o Also recognize that while you expect value for the money you spend with a vendor, the vendor is also in the business to make a profit and has to cover overhead expenses that may not seem obvious to you or your staff. Always let your vendor know you are interested in a mutually profitable relationship.
o Use your vendor representatives as a resource for information and advice. However, be respectful of the time the vendor's representative spends with you. Remember that time is money for both of you.
o Listen to your vendors -- Companies may be wasting their energy if they put specific segments of their business out to bid. Instead, Verticalnet's Habig suggested that better strategic results are achievable when companies let their vendors bid on the parts of their business that they want the most.
Highlights of Vendor Management:
o Helps streamline, simplify and standardize your workforce processes
o Allows you to increase vendor quality, and helps you make better-informed workforce decisions
o Enhances efficiency and helps you manage risk
o Reduces costs by helping you lower vendor rates, eliminate maverick spending and manage headcount to budget
o Lets you focus on strategic human resource functions without the headache of managing E-learning modules/application
Vendor Management enables you to maintain a preferred list of clients, vendors, and suppliers to ensure successful relationships. A well-orchestrated strategy of cost management, working-capital management, and technology-driven productivity will make your business run smoothly.