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Improving Vendor Relationships: How an Apparel Retail Brand Implemented a VR Lifecycle Process Case Study


The retailer is a leading retailer with multiple stores across the country. With an increasing number of vendors and suppliers, the company faced challenges in managing the vendor relationship lifecycle process. The retailer realized that to maintain high-quality standards and improve vendor relationships, they needed to implement a standarized structured process. The company engaged the Jordan Alliance Group (JAG) consulting firm to help implement a vendor relationship lifecycle process.


Before implementing the new vendor relationship lifecycle process, the retailer faced several challenges in their vendor relationships, including poor communication, inconsistent product quality, and high supply chain risks. Vendors were not consistently vetted or trained, leading to unpredictable performance across vendors. The key challenges were:

  1. Difficulty in Vetting Vendors: The retailer found it challenging to identify reliable vendors without a structured vendor vetting process.

  2. Lack of Transparency: The lack of transparency in the supply chain led to difficulty tracking product quality, delivery times, and inventory levels. This lack of transparency resulted in a negative impact on customer satisfaction and revenue.

  3. Inconsistent Onboarding and Training Process: The retailer lacked a standardized onboarding and training process, which resulted in inconsistent vendor performance.

  4. Inefficient Vendor Management: Inefficient vendor relationship resulted in unnecessary duplication of efforts, inconsistent performance standards, and a lack of accountability.

  5. Lack of Strategic Partnering: The retailer did not have a process for identifying strategic partners among its vendors.

  6. Compliance Risks: Without a statrdized structured vendor relationship lifecycle process, the company was exposed to compliance risks, including regulatory non-compliance, environmental risks, and reputational risks. These risks can lead to financial penalties, legal issues, and reputational damage.


The retailer recognized the need to implement a vendor relationship lifecycle process to improve their reputation in the marketplace and build strategic vendor relationships. The retailer partnered with JAG to implement a vendor relationship lifecycle process to address the challenges.

JAG and the project team worked with the company's steering committee, leadership team, and IT to develop a strategy that included statrdizing vendor vetting, onboarding, training, performance tracking, strategic partnering, and offboarding. The retailer's sourcing Ops team integrated a vendor scorecard to assess vendors based on several criteria, including delivery time, quality of products, and customer service. The scorecard was used to vet potential vendors and evaluate current vendors on an ongoing basis. The JAG consultants also worked with the retailer's management team to develop a standardized vendor onboarding and training process.

The new VRL process included a detailed orientation program, training on quality standards, and regular communication to ensure vendors met expectations. The VRL included the following steps:

  1. Vendor vetting: The retailer developed a standardized vendor vetting process that included background, financial, and compliance checks.

  2. Onboarding: The retailer provided new vendors with onboarding training, including product quality standards, compliance requirements, and communication protocols.

  3. Training: The retailer provided ongoing training to vendors to ensure consistent performance across vendors.

  4. Performance tracking: The retailer tracked vendor performance metrics, including on-time delivery, product quality, and compliance.

  5. Strategic partnering: The retailer identified high-performing vendors and developed strategic partnerships with them to further improve product quality and reduce supply chain risks.

  6. Offboarding: The retailer established a standardized offboarding process to manage underperforming vendors.


After implementing the new VRL, the company saw significant improvements in its vendor relationships. 

The standardized vetting process led to higher-quality vendors and reduced supply chain risks. The onboarding and ongoing training led to consistent product quality across vendors.

The strategic partnering led to further improvements in product quality and reduced supply chain risks. The performance tracking enabled the retailer to identify underperforming vendors and improve their performance or offboard them. Overall, the retailer increased product quality and decreased supply chain risks through improved vendor relationships.

The following are some of the key results and statistics:

  1. Improved Vendor Quality: The new process helped the company identify and onboard reliable vendors, resulting in a significant improvement in product quality.

  2. Increased Efficiency: The standardized onboarding and training process reduced the time it took to get vendors up to speed, resulting in increased efficiency.

  3. Improved Vendor Relationships: The new process helped foster stronger relationships with vendors, resulting in better communication and a greater willingness to collaborate on strategic initiatives.


  • The retailer saw a reduction in supply chain risks after implementing the vendor relationship lifecycle process.

  • Vendor compliance increased after implementing the process.

  • The percentage of high-performing vendors increased after implementing the strategic partnering step of the process.

  • Product quality issues decreased after implementing the process.


Implementing the VRL was a successful strategy for improving the retailer's relationships with vendors. The retailer's commitment to ongoing vendor training and performance tracking enabled them to identify and improve underperforming vendors. The strategic partnering step of the process enabled the retailer to enhance product quality further and reduce supply chain risks. The process led to increased product quality, decreased supply chain risks, and improved communication with vendors. 

Working with the JAG consulting firm to develop a holistic strategy for implementing the VRL helped the retailer overcome several challenges and significantly improve vendor relationships. The strategic approach has helped identify reliable vendors, enhance product quality, and foster stronger relationships with strategic partners. By leveraging the expertise of external consultants, the retailer was able to achieve its goals and position itself for future success.

  • According to a report by McKinsey, retailers that have adopted a structured vendor management process have seen a 15% improvement in on-time delivery, a 20% reduction in inventory, and a 25% improvement in supplier performance.

  • Another study by Aberdeen Group found that companies with a formal supplier relationship management program in place had a 23% reduction in supply chain disruptions and a 26% improvement in quality.

  • According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, 68% of retailers said that supply chain disruptions had a moderate to severe impact on their business operations.

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