Advanced Localization Vendor Management

From the 1980s when the localization industry was still in its infancy, till now at a time of perfect competition, localization vendor management (VM) has been evolving. As more companies focus on their core competencies and outsource their localization activities, localization vendor management has become more important than ever.

Buyers typically went through 4 stages of localization vendor management:

1. no VM

Mostly in-house translators, aided by a limited number of vendors

2. decentralized and disconnected VM

Project managers recruit per project needs. Different project managers have their own lists of vendors.

3. centralized VM

A dedicated vendor management role has been created to recruit and manage in response to project needs, no or few strategies exist during this phase

According to Common Sense Advisory, by 2014, 45% of the buyers surveyed already have their centralized localization vendor management.

4. advanced VM

Vendor management collaborate with project managers and vendors to internalize localization and achieve continuous improvement.

This requires high localization maturity level.

To map the Institute for Supply Management (ISM)'s supplier relationship management (SRM) maturity model, here are a few traits of advanced localization vendor management:

1. Typically one or two strategic partners, more preferred, many transactional vendors

Vendor Tier

2. Both vendor management and stakeholders engage with vendors

3. Vendors are developed during the collaboration

4. Focus has switched from unit price to total value to customers

5. Vendor management and stakeholders set expectation, vendors measure themselves

6. Vendors continuously develop themselves and help customers develop

7. Vendor management + close collaboration in the supply chain

While the majority of buyers and Language Services Providers (LSPs) are no longer relying on a disconnected vendor management model, the language industry is in general still lagging behind best procurement practices in manufacturing industries. In this context, ISM's SRM maturity model may aid vendor management professionals in setting clear goals and creating matching strategies to meet them. 

About JDE Global

JDE Global is a localization solution provider based in Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

We position ourselves as a technology driven solution provider enabled by automated project and translation management.

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