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5 Steps to Implementing Vendor Risk Management

From ensuring proper qualifications to safeguarding against potential risks, businesses must weigh a wide range of important considerations when selecting the right vendor for a job.

A well-designed, third-party management process streamlines protocols, mitigates risks, and maintains compliance through careful assessment—from initial screenings to project completion.

What Is Vendor Risk Management?

Vendor risk management is the process by which organizations vet potential third parties’ qualifications, assess risks, and track compliance throughout the business relationship.

When implementing a consistent and effective risk management strategy, we suggest organizations follow the following five key steps:

Implementing a Vendor Risk Management Strategy

1. Begin With Smart Vendor Selection

The simplest way to proactively mitigate vendor risk? Ensure you’re selecting the right vendors from the start through a comprehensive assessment process.

Some third-party management solutions feature automated requests for proposals (RFPs), enabling you to compare pre-qualified bids and applications, recruit quality vendors, and more.

It is essential to outline an overall risk management plan including any policies for third-party risk exposure, as well as develop a framework for assessing and responding to non-compliance. Some businesses might prefer to modernize their vendor management process and invest in automated certificate of insurance (COI) tracking software to streamline operations and avoid manual tasks.

Whether automated or manual tracking is right for your organization, it is crucial to plan specific policies, procedures, and surveillance methods at the very outset to streamline workflows and ensure consistency.

2. Create a Standardized Onboarding Process

After selecting the right vendor(s) for a project, it is time to onboard them into your records system. You’ll need to log basic individual and affiliated business information; conduct health, safety, and financial screenings; and collect COIs and other documentation.

Your internal team manually monitors such information through third-party management processes. However, an automated COI tracking solution negates the need for myriad paperwork during this stage, streamlining onboarding via an online software solution or convenient app.

3. Establish Contractual Standards

Although your organization might possess reference templates, the unique posture and status of each vendor—determined through risk management and onboarding processes—will require specific contractual terms. Therefore, it is essential that with each new relationship you add and subtract clauses accordingly, and maintain standard review protocols to ensure both parties understand policies before making an agreement.

4. Maintain Due Diligence & Monitoring

After the initial onboarding, COI collection, and contract finalization is underway, it is best practice to maintain due diligence by monitoring third-party behavior for any non-compliance. Whether ensuring COIs are up to date or remaining vigilant against costly claims, it is crucial to safeguard against risk factors that could ultimately reflect poorly on your organization.

This can be achieved manually or through automated tracking software—the latter detecting COI inconsistencies and expirations as they occur, providing full visibility into third-party risks, and quick compliance correction.

5. Create Auditing & Reporting Processes

To guard against non-compliance and other risks, companies can institute a robust internal auditing and reporting process that highlights document expirations, inconsistencies, risk assessments, and more for complete transparency and understanding.

This regulatory requirement is especially useful for businesses that do not utilize automated software—providing full visibility into potential risks and helping bring wayward vendors back into compliance.

Benefits of Automated Third-Party Management

Adhering to a standardized risk management process helps businesses streamline COI tracking, mitigate potential hazards, and proactively guard against costly claims.

Rather than sacrifice hours of productivity manually tracking compliance, automated solutions provide real-time insights, streamlined communication, and more.

Few software solutions on the market possess the multifaceted risk management capabilities of bcs. Real-time COI tracking, automated RFPs, easy onboarding, and more—bcs helps businesses implement robust vendor risk management strategies that save time and money, and grant invaluable peace of mind.

bcs is one of the leading vendor management solutions on the market, providing self-service and full-service COI tracking, compliance monitoring, easy streamlined onboarding through the bcs App, and much, much more. Contact us today.

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Learn from the pros about risk-mitigation, document tracking, and more, with expert articles from bcs.

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