Senior Vendor Management Consultant
Requisition ID: 896
Location: Corporate Office
Piedmont Natural Gas is an energy services company primarily engaged in the distribution of natural gas to more than one million residential, commercial and industrial utility customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, including 52,000 customers served by municipalities who are wholesale customers. Our subsidiaries are invested in joint venture, energy-related businesses, including unregulated retail natural gas marketing, interstate natural gas storage and intrastate natural gas transportation. More information about Piedmont Natural Gas is available on the Internet at http://www.piedmontng.com/
Position Title:Senior Vendor Management Consultant
The Senior Vendor Management Consultant position exists to orchestrate the Company’s dealings with its technology suppliers such as hardware, software, outsourced arrangements and consulting services as required to meet the IS Department’s and Piedmont’s broader business objectives. A Senior Vendor Management Consultant is the person that provides technology product and service purchasing guidance for more complex purchases and business arrangements for the IS department and Piedmont’s lines of business pursing technology related projects. Although not necessarily limited to these items, responsibilities include evaluating a potential provider's reputation, resources and expertise as well as assessing and negotiating necessary contracts consistent with technology and legal best practices.
The Senior Vendor Management Consultant also manages the ongoing vendor relationship to ensure contract compliance by both parties and to ensure Piedmont obtains the intended value for the identified technology purchase. This includes, when appropriate, managing vendor performance utilizing a formal performance management process, managing vendor performance for greater value, intervening to address performance concerns, and overseeing potential conflict resolution and escalation as required to achieve Piedmont’s goals.
A Senior Vendor Management Consultant handles larger and more complex sourcing and vendor management responsibilities than a Vendor Management Consultant. A Senior Vendor Management Consultant will typically be responsible for a combination of the following dimensions:
· Managing one or multiple key vendor relationships. In the case of managing a single key vendor, the position is usually responsible for the day-to-day oversight of services and vendor service delivery – including approving vendor work orders, tickets, and day-to-day oversight of vendor employee and system performance.
· Serving as the primary lead for managing one or more areas of Sourcing support including financial reporting, research and analysis or overseeing third party research needed to support sourcing activities.
· Managing a number of second and third tier relationships.
· Ensuring contract compliance and oversight of multiple contracts representing financial obligations of $250K to $8M spend annually.
· Satisfying a number of internal procurement requests annually driven by ticket requests.
· Evolving expertise and management responsibility for multiple “technology spaces” or key areas of technology and associated contract expertise (for example: software, software as a service (SaaS) hardware, supplemental staff, professional services, telecom, outsourcing, etc.)
· Supporting sourcing activities for various departments and smaller Enterprise Projects with technology requiring expertise from multiple technology spaces and an associated technology spend between $20K and $1.5M.
· Serving as the sourcing lead on large complex Enterprise Projects requiring that multiple contract and vendor relationships be established and managed during the course of the project spanning several technology spaces and areas of contract expertise. Typically large complex Enterprise Projects will have an associated technology spend exceeding $1.5M and spanning multiple years and phases for implementation.
Senior Vendor Management Consultants also provides analysis and financial guidance to various IS area code holders around projected budget amounts based on contractual obligations, actual spend amounts, and knowledge of assigned technology spaces. Budget guidance assists with the budget planning and oversight activities for an approximately $34M IS O&M budget and $20M Capital budget.
Nature and Scope:
A Senior Vendor Management Consultant is an individual contributor position without direct reports. Although an incumbent in the position may be indirectly responsible for overseeing the work efforts of a significantly large volume of vendor employees in an outsourced arrangement. The position reports directly to the Manager – IT Sourcing and Vendor Management who is a member of the IS Management Team reporting directly to the VP – IS.
A Senior Vendor Management Consultant interfaces with a wide variety of internal constituents while sourcing technology for the Company and managing ongoing vendor relationships. Internal constituents include various technology experts and colleagues within IS; IS supervisors and managers; project managers; line of business managers; accounting and finance representatives (including tax experts); Piedmont’s internal and external attorneys; and senior level managers as determined necessary based on the nature of the spend or technology impact. A Senior Vendor Management Consultant also works with a variety of corresponding external parties on a daily basis to perform their job, including: vendor representatives in sales; technology experts; account managers; attorneys; and various technicians and personnel involved in providing technology solutions.
A Senior Vendor Management Consultant is expected to evolve expertise in multiple technology spaces including technical competence, market insight, and a solid understanding of associated operational and legal risks for the specific technology area and a high level of competence on how to mitigate those risks. As part of the risk mitigation the Senior Vendor Management Consultant should become fluent in the structure and provisions of contracts associated with multiple spaces. A Senior Vendor Management Consultant should also be able to identify risk mitigation strategies beyond contract language to provide internal clients with additional operational ways to reduce risk to the Company and increase the value of Piedmont’s technology spend.
A fully competent Senior Vendor Management Consultant has wide latitude to negotiate provisions and make decisions about managing a particular vendor in his or her assigned technology space(s). In addition, a Senior Vendor Management Consultant should be sufficiently competent to create contract templates covering typical risks for various technology spaces he or she has work in and to gain approval from Legal to allow those templates to be used by other colleagues in the sourcing area or shared with other areas of the Company. In addition, the position should be able to perform peer reviews on sourcing documents for their colleagues for technology spaces he or she has worked in previously to provide broader expertise. A fully competent Senior Vendor Management Consultant requires little to no oversight for the technology space(s) he or she has worked in previously, except as defined by the function’s internal review processes – possibly including peer review, manager review, internal Piedmont client review and legal review.
A fully competent Senior Vendor Management Consultant should have and be able to demonstrate the following core competencies:
· Strong analytical skills;
· Excellent interpersonal skills for internal and external relationship management;
· Strong oral and written communication – including the ability to make formal presentation and to produce written proposals;
· High degree of emotional intelligence and ability to deal with high conflict situations;
· Proactive risk assessment and contingency planning,
· Root cause and problem resolution skills;
· Ability to assess, evaluate and understand internal colleagues’ needs and motivations to create positive outcomes;
· Ability to assess, evaluate and understand vendor needs and motivations to leverage in negotiations;
· General knowledge of contracts and legal issues and specific knowledge for contract risk associated uniquely with multiple technology space(s); and
· Vendor relationship and management expertise appropriate to deal with more difficult vendors.
A Senior Vendor Management Consultant has five main areas of accountability. The areas are identified below including a representative list of types the types of activities a Vendor Management Consultant may be involved in to accomplish the accountability.
I. Manages Technology Procurement To Ensure Appropriate Technology Solutions are Procured For Competitive Pricing and With Reduced Risk to Piedmont
· Maintains vendor calendar of renewals, upgrades, etc. Plans for and conducts negotiations for renewals or initiates sourcing activities as necessary to put business out to competitive bid for possible vendor changes.
· Works with management in IS and with other internal customers to procure needed technologies by request or as submitted in Piedmont’s ticketing system.
· Acts as central point of contact for vendor during the procurement process.
· Serves on Project Teams requiring the procurement of technology as the sourcing lead overseeing and managing the sourcing activities.
· Manages sourcing activities including RFI, RFQ, RFP, Vendor Meeting and various bid processes, reference checks, product and vendor research, etc.
· Utilizes and facilitates processes by which vendors are evaluated and selected in accordance with IT Sourcing guidelines and best practices.
· Maintains appropriate documentation to support selection decisions and to ensure fair business practices.
· Ensures the selected vendor meets the company or project criteria and delivery of contracted deliverables occur to ensure the intended value of the technology spend is achieved.
II. Negotiates and Manages Sourcing Related Agreements and Contracts to Ensure Piedmont Receives The Intended Value That is Associated with the Business Arrangement
· Leads contract negotiations and coordinates the review and approval process.
· Works with IS and line of business personnel to make sure operational needs are addressed contractually and operational risk is mitigated to an acceptable level.
· Works in tandem with PNG’s Legal Department and as necessary external legal counsel to ensure appropriate legal risks are managed to an acceptable level.
· Ensures contracts are appropriately executed consistent with Piedmont’s policies and approved delegation of authority guidelines.
· Provides escalation point to resolve contractual issues. Determines and implements strategy concerning when and how to escalate unresolved issues.
· Keeps appropriate documentation and coordinates I.T. - related information gathering to support potential interventions with a vendor including among others possible litigation.
III. Manages Contracts Through the Contract Lifecycle to Ensure Compliance
· Administers contracts (contract data base, file location, record retention) consistent with internal Company policy, department policy and best practices.
· Oversees and is responsible for business partner contracts and business partner compliance (licensure, insurance requirements, billing / rate terms, etc).
· Oversees and is responsible for working with Piedmont management to make sure Piedmont is compliant with contractual obligations.
· Participates in Piedmont’s Information Technology Asset Management (ITAM) Program as needed to ensure contract compliance and to better determine purchasing needs and scope.
· Conducts research and analysis as necessary to verify compliance and or to determine scope and scale of possible procurement needs.
IV. Manages Vendor Relationships to Ensure Piedmont Works Effectively With Suppliers and to Ensure Piedmont Receives Acceptable Vendor Performance
· Attends vendor sponsored conferences, reads news releases, participates in technology sourcing professional organizations and leverages various other resources to understand vendor strategy and market trends.
· Identifies and implements strategies for how to more effectively manage vendors to increase the value of Piedmont’s technology spend.
· Collaborates with areas of IT to ensure vendor partners are effectively managed and contracts are fully leveraged
· If necessary, and if part of an outsourced arrangement, participates in the review of open issues within PNG’s and / or vendor’s ticket system to identify trends and make recommendations for future account enhancements.
· Creates successful relationships with vendor contacts at all levels of the organization.
· Tracks and maintains vendor performance documentation.
· Acts upon gathered performance data and provides periodic feedback to business partners to ensure quality.
· Collaborates in establishing and then manages vendor performance to contractual SLA metrics including quality measurements.
· Drives ongoing process improvement to deliver increasing operational efficiency in all business partner processes including providing regular feedback and collaborating with vendors on potential relationship improvements.
· Regularly reviews and evaluates internal and external Service Level Agreements to identify areas of improvement.
· Oversees the accuracy and timeliness of all business partners reporting. Ensures that reporting meets requirements.
· Conducts “formal” Stewardship Meetings for key vendors.
· Assesses vendor risk for key vendors to factor into decisions about when to potentially move the business.
V. Contributes to the Management of IS Financial Spend and Rate Case Preparation to Help Ensure Cost Effective IS Service Delivery
· Provides input as needed for budgeting.
· Assists in providing estimates for technology spend for project business cases and assembling budget justification materials.
· Compiles and analyzes trends that affect budgetary needs.
· Works collaboratively with the IS area code holders in decision making for financial spend and for formulating variance responses and forecasts.
· Helps identify and produce technology spend “reports” or communications to assist management across the Company in making informed technology spend decisions.
· Conducts research and helps benchmark IS spend to external sources (published benchmarks, external providers, etc.) to determine appropriate levels or spend and improvement opportunities.
· Researches and provides information as needed to support Piedmont’s rate case requirements.
Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:
Bachelor’s degree related to business, finance, or technology related field
· Prior job experience or demonstrated knowledge in multiple facets of businesses including but not limited to financials, procurement processes, supply chain, forecasting, human resources, or specific IT technical knowledge
· Three years or more of prior job experience procuring technology and managing vendors in two or more technology spaces such as:
o Understanding of vendor management concepts and implementation techniques including contract negotiation and vendor performance monitoring
o Strong experience completing vendor evaluations and preparing RFPs
o Knowledge of industry best practices in contract negotiation
· Demonstrated ability to prepare and effectively lead negotiation sessions
· Excellent organizational skills and ability to work independently
· Strong analytical skills
· Strong oral and written communication skills
· Ability to work in a high activity/fast paced environment while managing associated stress
· Master’s degree related to business, finance, or technology related field
· Current knowledge of industry technical standards and alternatives
· Demonstrates ability to define and manage processes
· Strong written communication skills, including the ability to facilitate meetings and
effectively lead discussions
· Ability to build and maintain effective working relationships with all levels of management and staff
· Strong understanding of project management methodologies
· Occasionally travel to other company locations, may include overnight stay
· Occasionally lift and carry various technology / equipment, not to exceed 50 lbs
Piedmont Natural Gas is an equal opportunity employer dedicated to affirmative action and workforce diversity.
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