From The Editor | February 12, 2009

Quick Tip #2: Hold Your Vendor Partners Accountable

One aspect of our recent Best (and Worst) Channel Vendors survey that truly suprised me was the number and quality of the responses we received. We collected nearly 18,000 votes and amazing anecdotes! It's obvious that our audience cares about the channel and its relationships with its vendor partners. Makes sense, right? Not caring about your channel would be like sawing the tree branch you're standing on. Of course, caring is only the first step. Taking action is next. For instance, integrator Interactive Services Group (ISG) is one company that has benefited from closer vendor relations.

As part of its quest to achieve ISO certification (basically, extreme quality control), J. B. Dickinson, president of ISG, sought to evaluate his vendor relationships. “We have a rating system for all our vendors and partners to make sure they are delivering the level of quality we demand from them,” says Dickinson. “If they don’t comply, we need to find a vendor that does.” As part of the certification process, ISG classified its partners into three tiers. The “A” tier produces products and services with a 1% or less failure rate. The “B” tier has a 5% failure rate. The lowest “C” tier has a 10% failure rate. “Not only are we improving the quality of what’s coming into our company, we’ve reduced the number of  vendors and suppliers we deal with to a manageable pool,” says Dickinson. “We historically had trouble monitoring whether our vendors were delivering the products we were expecting. As a busy company, mistakes often went unnoticed. Now that our vendors know that we’re looking at them and judging them, it’s forced them to step up and be better.”