Vendor Management Software

The Best 6 Free and Open Source Vendor Management Software

The Best 6 Free and Open Source Vendor Management Software

Introduction to Vendor Management

Whether uttered by a junior intern or a vastly experienced manager, one of the most common terms used in an organization, particularly the purchasing department, is ‘vendors.’ Vendors are sellers, primarily responsible for supplying raw materials, or completed products, that are vital for another company to produce goods or services. A vendor may come in various sizes - depending on the client they need to service - and offer varied expertise in supplying essentialities for businesses to meet targets. 

Vendor management is a business strategy component that helps companies select the correct vendors, optimize cost and expenditure, ensure vendors adhere to service level protocols and operational excellence, manage contractual agreements, and enrich the value derived from the everyday association between the buyer and supplier. At its heart, vendor management is a model to build and firm relationships between organizations and suppliers. To help organizations streamline their vendor operations, a well-designed vendor management software is the need of the hour.

This blog helps readers understand the features, advantages, emerging trends, and processes involved in vendor management software. The free and open source vendor management software listed below adhere to all compliance standards and provide organizations, institutions, and non-profit ventures a shot in the arm when they need to carefully manage their suppliers. 

Read on below for the best software in vendor management. 

Traditional Types of Vendor Management

Vendor management segregates itself into a few core types based on the basic functionality that the solution offers. These are as follows: 

  • End-to-End Vendor Management 
  • Relationship Management
  • Contract Management
  • Risk Management 
  • Compliance Management
  • Procurement Management 
  • Workflow Management 

Risks associated with traditional methods of Vendor Management

Traditional vendor management risks chiefly entail those inherited through manual vendor management. But in many cases, risks also entail several degrees of digitalized vendor-specific products as well. Some of the most pressing concerns are listed below: 

Challenges with Vendor Management

Vendor Management Process

The entire vendor management process is lengthy for completion in a single go. Due diligence from both parties is key to getting all the contract details perfect and solidifying the relationship. The key steps in the vendor management software process are as follows: 

S1: Identify the needs and requirements - Determine why a company needs vendors, the processes for which vendors deem necessary, the total quantity of resource required, periods of supply, etc. 

S2: Identify Vendors - Initiate bids for projects from vendors, identify their core strengths and weaknesses, initiate background checks, verify and ratify vendor capabilities. Ensure risk onboarded by vendors in operations is minimal.   

S3: Determine Vendors & Sign Contract - Final choice of vendors based on budget, business criteria, optimal score report. Ensure vendors adhere to terms of contract and engagement and follow all obligations as necessary. Help them understand the reporting flow and timelines of delivery. Observance of the ethics code of conduct is vital. 

S4: Execute Contract and Implement Terms of Service - Ensure completion of all deliverables in the stated time frames. Record, store all documents and communication between vendors and department, ensure correct input to vendor operations and clearing of financial terms. 

S5: Monitor & Report on Vendor Performance - Use reporting and analytics dashboard for feedback between vendors and organization on performance improvement areas, deliverables’ quality, etc. 

S6: End or Renew Contract - Initiate key decision to renew terms of the contract or identify new vendors at the end of time frame after due analysis of vendor performance.   

Process of Vendor Management

How does poor Vendor management impact business operations?

Inefficiency in vendor management is a bane for all - small, medium, or large-scale - organizations. Not only do they hamper business processes, but unmitigated vendor slip-ups tend to seep into various facets of the organization. Some of the problems associated with poor vendor management are as follows:

  1. Illiberal adherence compliance standards
  2. Poor cost control
  3. Inefficient contract negotiations and terms
  4. Cybersecurity and data risk
  5. Reduced total output
  6. Downgraded reputation and business relevance
  7. Product and service delays, 
  8. A total breakdown in vendor-client relations
  9. Constant contingency planning
  10. Disruption in business process workflow

What is a Vendor Management Software?

Vendor management software is a suite of digital innovations and tools that prove to be the best solution in helping businesses deal with hiring and managing external vendors crucial to business success. Some of the core fundamentals of online vendor management systems include - vendor selection and onboarding, collaboration and communication between vendors and departmental POCs, streamlining vendor performance evaluation, optimizing cost strategies, ensuring all compliance and guidelines.   

A vendor management system is a core digital solution to businesses, who deal with an array of issues that arise in dealing with vendors manually. Whether it is through planned risk management or resolving payment logjams quickly, vendor risk management software and vendor management tools help businesses plan their interactions with vendors carefully and ensure adherence to contracts, milestones, and quality of final products, stringently.     

How does Vendor Management Software Address Risk Associated with Manual Vendor Management?

Vendor management software is easy to implement and applicable on a variety of device platforms and even offers custom-configured solution types. A well-implemented vendor management solution solves many problems that manual vendor management systems cannot address. 

  • First, the vendor management systems office centralized storage. All information and negotiated contracts can be accessed at a single point by both vendors and clients. Tracking financial obligations, receipt of goods and services offered, and purchase orders with RFQs become extremely simple and streamlined. It ensures that no cheating can occur, following all compliance standards and procedures, with increased real-time collaboration.
  • Second,  vendor management software offers real-time analytics to observe performance and take necessary corrective actions so that final goods supplied to the organization meet the criteria mentioned in the contract. Real-time analytics helps delivery timelines and exceptional performance adjustments for vendors to offer incremental value to the buyer.
  • Third, online vendor management tools reduce Security risk with excellent protocols adjusted to ensure that all data stored is safe from hacking and can only be accessed by certain firm users. Fourth, a vendor management system increases the cost and financial recording capabilities of an organization dealing with vendors. Not only is expense handling easy, but cash outflow is now possible through streamlined steps.
  • Fifth, Vendor management systems can handle the greater risks posed by vendors. Not only is vendor segregation by rating, financial capabilities, and size of deliverables handled now possible, but comfortable and secure conflict resolution, as well as structured contingency planning, is executable. 

Emerging Trends in Vendor Management Software

Vendor management software is subject to evolution and change. There is a clutch of new-age innovations and digital process improvements that strengthen vendor resource management and associated functions. Some of the biggest emerging trends in vendor management software are as follows:

  • Implementation of large-scale Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to understand vendor behavior when the compatibility. Increasing the efficiency of processes involved in choosing vendors collaborating with them, and finally getting the deliverables is the main aim. 
  • Big Data Analytics helps companies shoot through vendor selections, helping decide contract terms awarded to a particular vendor on a project basis. 
  • Increased Automation to handle administrative tasks to make vendor management less labor-intensive and more process efficient.
  • By relying on reporting and analytics, businesses are now strategizing digital risk handling methods and contingency plan strategies to make processes nimble and adjust to vendor uncertainties on the go. 

Businesses are also using futuristic tracking methods to ensure that: 

  1. All their deliverables are as per compliance, 
  2. Timeline of the deliverables and,
  3. Method of Delivery 

Features of Vendor Management Software

Some of the core features of Vendor Management Software are as follows:

VMS Features

Advantages of Vendor Management Software (Image)

As discussed above, traditional vendor management compiles risks that may have a significant bearing on business direction. Vendor management tools address these shortcomings and add more dimensions to the organization's overall operational efficacy. The main advantages of vendor management software are as follows - 

   Benefits of VMS

Is there any free and Open Source Vendor Management Software?

A plethora of free and open source vendor management software offers great document storage and data security, performance insight, and the ideal tools for vendor relationship management. Read on below for a crystal clear view of some of the best vendor management solutions. 

Top Free and Open Source Vendor Management Software

Comparison Table Vendor Management Software
 

*Free Demo/Trial

#1 Dolibarr

Dolibarr packages itself as a free and open source vendor management software as part of its broader Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) functionality. The vendor management system is an on-premise solution, capable of deployment over the cloud via a SaaS application model. It is also platform independent - thus supported on multiple mobile and desktop operating systems. The vendor management tool is easily customizable and capable of running on shared, dedicated, or virtual systems. The latest version of the software is v12.0.3. It offers an all-in-one multi-platform software suite that can easily be updated to the latest version at any time. 

Dolibarr Demo

Source - Dolibarr

The core features of Dolibarr are: 

  • Contract Management
  • Cost Control
  • Expense Management
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Vendor Portal
  • Workflow Management 

#2 Odoo Purchase

Odoo is an open source vendor management software that is parceled together with its purchasing solution suite. The vendor resource management software improves the performance of a company’s supply chain through increased data control. It automates several administrative tasks related to inventory and stocks (such as RFQs to suppliers). Odoo’s central dashboard integrates tender vendor rates, such that the comparison of supplier offerings is straightforward. Furthermore, the blanket order functionality allows for recurring purchases at negotiated prices over time. The Open source vendor management system is available on a free trial and can be integrated with multiple Odoo applications and extensions. The company boasts over 5 million customers and is incredibly transparent in vendor pricing and order tracking. 

Demo Odoo Purchase

Source - Odoo Purchase

Some features of Odoo Purchase are as follows: 

  • Audit Trail
  • Cost Control
  • Document Management
  • Expense Management
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Security and Control
  • Vendor Portal
  • Workflow Management

#3 Procuman

PRocuMan is an open source vendor management software acting as a solution to business procurement needs. The software integrates Vendor Relationship Management into a single dashboard to keep track of E-Tenders, Supplier queries and conflict resolution, and RFQs. Whatsmore, the software only allows specific user access, enabling heightened security of documents and other data formats. The portal allows easy submission of quotes and comparisons between vendors. Besides core vendor management tools, the platform simplifies purchase orders and invoice handling, and inventory handling. The vendor resource management software is an on-cloud solution offered via Amazon cloud services and has a 30-day free trial.

Procuman Demo

Source - ProcuMan

The features of Procuman are as follows: 

  • Audit Trail
  • Cost Control
  • Document Management
  • Expense Management
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Security and Control
  • Vendor Portal
  • Workflow Management
  • Staff Management

#4 Cobblestone

Cobblestone is a free vendor management software that promises to automate several administrative and labor-intensive tasks in maintaining vendor relations. The software is easily deployable and integrates efficiently with core business processes. Cobblestone vendor management software is available on a free trial and assures its buyers of increased ROI in just 30 days. The software engages organizations from diverse fields as government, healthcare, and IT inefficient vendor process handling. Furthermore, the online vendor management software is easily configurable to business needs and goals. 

Cobblerstone Dmo
Source - Cobblestone

The core features of Cobblestone software are:

  • Audit Trails
  • Document Management 
  • Reporting and Analytics 
  • Performance Tracking
  • Security and Control
  • Online Collaboration
  • Risk Assessment
  • Vendor Portal
  • Workflow Management

#5 Kissflow

Kissflow, a free vendor management software packaged alongside procurement solutions, assures streamlined vendor handling and relationship building. It has a quick vendor screen and rating dashboard, facilitating vendors’ right choice, besides a portal for increased real-time collaboration between the parties involved. The software allows buyers to conduct price checks and comparisons, receive shipping notices, and publish instant goods receipts. Added to this, the platform has a Supplier Performance, initiate Corrective Actions (SCAR) to hone in vendor deliverables to company standards. Not only is the vendor onboarding process smooth via Kissflow, but the vendor invoice management system also facilitates access to all contracts and related financial information in one place. The vendor risk management software is a full-on-cloud solution meaning it is accessible from anywhere. 

Kissflow Demo

Source - Kissflow 

The core features of Kissflow are as follows:

  • Audit Trail
  • Cost Control
  • Performance Tracking
  • Expense Management
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Security and Control
  • Vendor Portal
  • Workflow Management
  • Staff Management  

#6 Intelex 

Intelex - an Environment, Health, Safety, and Quality (EHSQ) platform - also offers vendor management software as part of its central capabilities. The platform supports buyers in streamlined vendor management, including easy onboarding, recording of non-performance, and enabling quick Correction And Prevention Actions (CAPA) to prevent supplier diffidence. The software is replete with automation functions (on emails and alerts) and Root Cause Analysis (RCA) reporting. The complete Intelex vendor management has over 1300 clients and is a web-only platform. 

Intelex Demo

Source - Intelex

The core features of the Intelex are as follows: 

  • Audit Trail
  • Contract Management
  • Cost Control
  • Document Management
  • Expense Management
  • Performance Tracking
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Security and Control
  • Vendor Portal
  • Workflow Management  

The vendor management software ecosystem is replete with various solutions that can be implemented on a large scale and cost-effectively. Some of the most popular Vendor Management Solutions include Latitude WMS, Zoho Creator, and Procurify. Within the ambit Of vendor management tools, one of the most popular and upcoming software is GatekeeperHQ.  Let us take a look at the vendor management software and its offerings below. 

GatekeeperHQ

GatekeeperHQ is a popular vendor management software that helps businesses control all their vendor relationship management methods and capabilities on a single platform. The software enforces a wholly customizable and branded dashboard with its built-in messaging application. Furthermore, users may implement templates for vendor management reporting and improvement advice. The vendor management platform rates vendors based on a scorecard improves vendor KPI monitoring and risk management while affording access to an unlimited number of users on the software plans.  

Demo for Gatekeeper HQ
Source - Gatekeeper HQ

The core features of GatekeeperHQ are: 

  • Audit Trail
  • Contract Management
  • Cost Control
  • Document Management
  • Expense Management
  • Performance Tracking
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Risk Assessment 
  • Security and Control
  • Staff Management
  • Vendor Portal
  • Workflow Management 

Conclusion

There is more than just a limited number of reasons to implement vendor management software and vendor relationship management best practices. For a start, 74 percent of pollsters in a study indicated they had no clue as to vendor handling of personal and professional data. Deloitte studies show 87 percent of data breaches occur due to malicious vendor activities. Another study highlights poor vendor management software implementation, at just 40 percent of all companies polled. All of the above points to companies needing to implement exceptional vendor management solutions to benefit their business. 

Solutions such as Torii, SmartSolve, and Precoro offer bespoke solutions to vendor management software clients and buyers. Interested buyers can read the exceptionally curated buyer’s guide available on the vendor management software directory page of GoodFirms. 

Have you interacted and used some of the free and open source vendor management solutions mentioned in the list above? Let us know what you felt through our official feedback portal. Please provide your review of our article in the comments section below. Do refer to GoodFirms’ software directory to address all concerns you may have for any digital solutions set. 

Jason Adams
Jason Adams

Jason Adams is a writer with a keen interest to continue learning and develop his research abilities. An avid reader and an eye towards growth, he is associated with GoodFirms, a frontline, and evolving reviews and rating platform.

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