Vendor relationship manager


A vendor relationship manager is responsible for building and maintaining relationships with each company that the organisation has a commercial relationship with. Vendor relationship management has at its heart the concept that the customer is not passive in the commercial relationship.

The vendor relationship manager will work to improve the relationship between supply and demand. Through vendor relationship the customer is sharing some of the responsibility for the commercial relationship. The vendor relationship manager will work to ensure that the vendors have a clear understanding of the customer requirements and expectations. The vendor relationship manager also works with key stakeholders from the business to ensure that the business has a clear understanding of what the vendors are offering.

A vendor relationship manager exhibits a combination of capabilities from the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and the Leadership competencies for Queensland.

SFIA profile

Within the SFIA profile, the vendor relationship manager has level 5 capabilities, i.e. ensures and advises on the skills outlined below.

Refer to the framework for descriptions of the seven levels of responsibility and accountability.

SFIA skill

SFIA skill code

SFIA skill level of responsibility

SFIA skills level descriptor

Contract Management



Oversees and measures the fulfillment of contractual obligations. Uses key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor and challenge performance and identify opportunities for continuous improvement. Develops strategies to address under-performance and compliance failures, including application of contract terms. Identifies where changes are required, evaluates the impact, and advises stakeholders about the implications and consequences for the business and/or the procurement element of programmes/projects. Negotiates variations and seeks appropriate authorisation. Actively supports and engages with experts and stakeholders to ensure continuous improvements are identified through review and benchmarking processes.

Develops and implements change management protocols.




Researches suppliers and markets, and maintains a broad understanding of the commercial environment, to inform and develop commercial strategies and sourcing plans. Advises on the business case for alternative sourcing models, and on policy and procedures covering the selection of suppliers, tendering, and procurement. Leads procurement teams, managing tender, evaluation and acquisition processes. Negotiates with potential partners and suppliers, developing acceptance criteria and procedures. Drafts and places contracts.

Supplier management



Manages suppliers to meet key performance indicators and agreed targets. Manages implementation of supplier service improvement actions. Use suppliers' expertise to support and inform development roadmaps. Manages operational relationships between suppliers. Ensures potential disputes or conflicts are raised at an early stage, with clear escalation paths for resolving them. Performs bench-marking and makes use of supplier performance data to ensure that supplier performance is properly monitored and regularly reviewed. Identifies constraints and opportunities when negotiating or renegotiating contracts.

Leadership skills

Leadership competencies for Queensland describes what highly effective, everyday leadership looks like in the sector. In simple, action-oriented language, it provides a common understanding of the foundations for success across all roles. The profile describes three performance dimensions (vision, results and accountability) and 11 leadership competencies required against five leadership streams.

Leadership streams are not connected to a level or classification, but rather reflect the balance between leadership and technical skills required of an individual. Individuals can consider the value proposition of roles rather than the traditional lens of hierarchical structures or classification levels. The five leadership streams are:

  • Individual contributor (Leads self and does not supervise others)
  • Team leader (leads a team and typically reports to a program leader)
  • Program leader (leads team leaders and/or multiple areas of work)
  • Executive (leads program leaders or other executives)
  • Chief executive (leads the organisation).

When developing a role description, identify the role type and then focus on the most important attributes and create a balance between SFIA skills and leadership skills.

Entry points

A degree level qualification in business and or information technology is very highly regarded. Experience in sales and a very high level of customer service experience are essential to the role. Sound communication and interpersonal skills are vital to success as a vendor relationship manager.