Supply chain management has taken on an increasingly important role at language service providers. It stems from ever more specific and rigorous client requirements, intense price pressure, the depth of subcontracting to peers, and the diversification of the industry around language combinations and domains.
CSA Research interviewed 31 language service providers to document best practices for setting up the vendor management function at LSPs. To evaluate the technology that supports the function, we also attended demos of the vendor management features of five translation management systems (TMS) and conducted an analysis of more than 30 translator registration portals.
What we found was that not all VM teams are equal in strength and capability. How companies organize the function affects their growth, profitability, and even the business valuation calculated by investors. This research helps both smaller or newer LSPs set up a dedicated team to handle the function and existing teams optimize their operations. This report covers:
- Business Value. We outline the benefits of vendor management and strategic issues that push companies to set up a dedicated function.
- Organizational Model. We review how the function evolved at LSPs, roles and responsibilities of vendor managers, the setup of larger teams, and recruitment tips.
- Vendor Database. We cover systems used by LSPs to store vendor information as well as self-registration portals to recruit linguists.
- Tool Chest. We describe elements to put in place that support deployment of the function: certifications, rate sheets, contracts, and metrics.
- Recommendations. We summarize what LSPs should do to set up a vendor management function.
- Information Sources. We provide details on the profile of interviewees.