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What Is Vendor Registration?

By Theresa Miles
Updated May 16, 2024
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Vendor registration is the process of collecting key information from outside suppliers of goods and services and entering that information into a system to manage the relationship. The registration system used is typically electronic or Internet-based, but can be handled through a paper process. Registration is used as a threshold requirement to separate vendors who are eligible suppliers and those who are not.

Businesses, institutions, and governments use outside vendors to supply needed goods and services that support operations or production. Vendors are an integral link in the supply chain and require management. As an outside party, a vendor has to be vetted to establish qualifications and experience before he can be considered a reliable supplier.

Each potential client has its own operational standards that drive the vendor qualification process. Some clients may handle confidential information or interact with high-profile customers. Other clients may deal with vulnerable populations that require licensing or background clearance. Vendors must meet the standards set by the client or the client’s industry, and adherence to standards must often be managed over the course of the relationship.

Registration is one of the first steps in vendor management. It requires any vendor who wants to provide goods or services to supply a standard slate of information. This information is vetted for completeness and compliance with requirements and entered into a system. The system is then made available to the client’s procurement staff or other employees so they know which vendors are on the approved list to bid on opportunities.

Most major institutions and governmental entities that use a large amount of vendors have an official registration system in place. The United Nations and the U.S. government, for instance, have vendor registration portals that are Internet-based. Anyone who wants to supply goods or services to these entities must register through the online system. The registration process enables these entities to manage their relationship with third parties, particularly in regard to communication and compliance.

A typical vendor registration process will require the supplier’s contact information. In a simple registration system, contact information might be all that is needed. More complex systems that have integrated initial vetting into the process will require additional input. Such a system will also request evidence of the vendor’s qualifications, including past experience, education, licensing and certifications, and might ask for proof to be attached or sent in as additional documentation. A vendor might have to provide business references and electronically sign various assurances.

As an added benefit, some vendor registration systems will also allow vendors to indicate areas of functional interest. Some major entities have vendor opportunities across a wide range of operational areas. A selection made during registration allows the client to categorize the vendor and also facilitates segmented communication. The client can notify a subset of vendors when appropriate opportunities that meet their area of specialty arise.

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