Evolving the Engineering Vendor Relationship

By Dmitry Stillermann

Nearshore Americas runs part II of Dmitry Stillermann’s contributed article on managing relationships with engineering vendors.

“We covered management-level communication in our previous article on the engineering vendor partnership model, but equally important is the communication to the joint team in general.

…Cooperate with the vendor to establish specialized and relevant training programs – they either have done similar things for other clients before and will embrace the idea immediately, or should be advised into doing this for the sake of overall engagement success… Update the team on a regular basis (at least quarterly) regarding how your company’s business is doing. Nothing motivates people as strongly as the sense of having meaning, purpose, and relevance.

If the client and vendor firms are operating in geographically dispersed locations (as is the norm these days), you should make sure team members from both sides meet their immediate counterparts in person at least once a year. For larger engagements involving sizable offshore components, we confidently recommend assigning a full-time on-site ambassador or even several on-site vendor team members. By being co-located with the client personnel, they will dramatically speed up the resolution of any occurring difficulties, both technical and communicational, saving tons of time and money in the long term.

A well-managed relationship between a client and a vendor is not completely unlike a healthy relationship between human beings. Both parties need to work on it constantly, give honest feedback, be attentive and vigilant, spot problems early and strive to decide and overcome them together. They should be bold and persistent and not give up if the problem does not go away after initial attempts to solve it have failed. Iterative and methodical approach is one thing that helps here, as well as mindfulness, vigilance and the willingness to proactively think about the future. We hope that the advice given here will help both clients and vendors to remember these simple yet profound things, as well as give them some practical tools and techniques that help them to achieve their goals.”

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