Online collaboration tools can provide an instant low-cost solution for sharing up-to-date NDA, procedures and forms with your company's vendors.
A company's Vendor Operations Manual (VOM) lets its vendors know the correct procedures for product development, merchandise sampling, packaging, carton labeling, shipping preferences, documentation requirements and so on. These manuals can be hundreds or thousands of pages with graphics and forms. One way to share that document with your vendors is the old-fashioned way: the three ring binder. Or, you could burn the VOM document onto CDs, and send those via courier to all your overseas vendors. That is labor-intensive and costly.
Then, every time your company changes a procedure or form, the VOM you have distributed is out-of-date. Use of outdated procedures leads to communication miscues, merchandise sample errors, longer sample turnaround, shipping errors, and delays. Your key products might not make it to market on time.
What to do? Online collaboration software provides a quick, easy, low-cost way to share your Vendor Operations Manual in a secure online site, keep it up-to-date and instantly notify vendors of any changes.
Today, I helped a new GroveSite client create and design a secure site for his online Vendor Operations Manual. We worked together by phone for LESS THAN AN HOUR to:
STEP 1: Create a secure site and brand it with his company's logo and colors (10 minutes)
STEP 2: Add pages to the site, creating a custom navigation that matched the VOM chapters (30 minutes). After some experimentation, the site navigation looked like this:
How to Use The Online Operations Manual
Chapter 1: Vendor Setup
- Chargeback Schedule
Chapter 2: Merchandise Sampling
- .....and so on
We used just 3 of GroveSite's many page templates: Wiki Pages, Navigation Headers, and File Libraries (click here for more page types)
STEP 3: Upload all the documents and forms for Chapter 1 (10 minutes)
STEP 4: Review how to easily enroll hundreds of vendors using the Enrollment by File Upload feature. (5 minutes)
So, in less than an hour, we created a secure, online, customized, branded Vendor Operations site. Once the remaining documents are uploaded, this company is ready to enroll their QA team and 500 vendors.
Each vendor will receive an email invitation with a link and login information. Upon login, the collaborative site looks just like a website. The vendor will simply scan the navigation, click the appropriate page, and click to download the desired procedure or form. Or, they'll use the GroveSite search feature to locate the information they need. No training is required. No Operations Manual CDs will be burned and mailed around the world, ever again. When an operating procedure or form is revised, the Admin will merely click , upload the revised file, and select "Send email notification to all." This way all vendors are notified of changes and have access to up-to-date information 24/7.
Even I was impressed at the speed and ease with which we crafted a customized solution that allows this client to collaborate securely outside their firewall!
This is part of a series, "Online Collaboration Software: Oh, the Things You Can Do". Each blog post in the series will describe a high-return use of collaboration software. It is designed for end-users – the business people who will use the information every day. Please feel free to comment, and to join us in submitting your own story – good or bad. Click here to access the Introduction article of this Series.