Vendor management from those who know (and do!) it best
Hear from our vendor management team as they give a sense of the key role they play in ensuring quality translation and interpreting outputs. From vendor recruitment to ensuring a good vendor-client fit, they touch on all the important topics.
How long have you worked at Skřivánek?
Markéta: I started working at Skřivánek 14 years ago. I returned to the Czech Republic after completing my postgraduate studies in the US and was looking for a job where I would have the chance to communicate in English on a daily basis. Skřivánek gave me the opportunity to use English when communicating with clients, translators and colleagues while managing projects for foreign clients. Two years later I became the manager of the branch in Prague, and in another two years I was promoted to my current position of Vendor Manager.
Petra K.: Apart from a six-month break in 2006, I have been working at Skřivánek since March 2003. I started out as a project manager at the branch in Prague 4, and since 2007 I have held the position of Vendor Specialist.
Petra S.: I have been working at Skřivánek since 2007. My colleague, whom I knew from my university studies, led me to this job. Since my field of studies was languages – English and Spanish Philology – working in a translation agency piqued my interests and I wanted to learn all the ins and outs of the translation business.
Štěpánka: I started working at Skřivánek in January 2005. In fact, it was a dream come true on one hand, and luck of the draw on the other (although nothing happens by chance, right?). Podolí is my birthplace, and although I moved a short distance away as an adult, I still spend most of my time there today, thanks to my job. Before working there, I passed by Skřivánek countless times, and on several occasions, I wondered what it would be like to work there. I always loved languages, especially our native language. As luck would have it, I was looking for a new job shortly after finishing my maternity leave and saw a notice on the labour office bulletin board stating that “Překladatelský servis Skřivánek” (that was the Company’s name at the time) was looking for a person to fill the position of Vendor Specialist. At the time, I didn’t really know what the position would entail, but I fit the criteria, and called that same day. This set a chain of events in motion that led to me signing an employment contract within a week.
(From left to right): Štěpánka, Markéta, Petra K.
Is working in Vendor Management more specific in some way compared to other positions?
Above all, we are responsible for a high-quality supplier database, support for our colleagues that use it, as well as support for our current translators, proof-readers and interpreters. Vendor Specialists, who recruit new suppliers and maintain the database, must have excellent negotiation and communication skills. The common denominator for us and our colleagues is a professional approach – whether it’s in dealing with suppliers or clients.
What do you like most about your work?
Markéta: I like its diversity, the opportunity to communicate with interesting people from all around the globe. I also appreciate the sense of stability within the organisation, which Skřivánek has maintained through its pleasant family and informal atmosphere even though it operates in several countries around the world. I value the enjoyable and congenial work environment, which is created by the team of colleagues I work with.
Petra K.: The fact that I am constantly learning new things, not only where, who and how many people speak a certain language, but also how my foreign colleagues tackle similar tasks. The absolute best feeling comes when I can help somebody contribute to securing a tender, a new client, etc. Last but not least, I can’t forget to mention the team I’ve been working with for several years now. They’re really great and I know that I can always rely on all of my colleagues.
Petra S.: I really value the team and the friendly relationships between colleagues. Over the years, I have forged many friendships that still last today. From the professional point of view, working at Skřivánek allows me to constantly broaden my horizons within the industry. This is also in part due to the diversity of my work as a methodology specialist for translations and interpretations.
Štěpánka: I like my colleagues, and I must say that in most cases, I have been lucky to have gotten them. Many of them, whether they are working here now or worked here in the past, are and will remain my friends.
In addition, I particularly like the progress – in spite of the fact that I’ve been in the same position all these years. The work of a Vendor Specialist has changed a lot over the years and the job description has significantly broadened, for instance, by the introduction of new information systems (a person has to learn how to work with them, it can influence their work, etc.), or increasing demands from our clients; sometimes we’re faced with an assignment which seems impossible, but in the end we still find a way to succeed.
Negotiating with new suppliers about establishing a cooperative relationship is becoming more difficult with each passing year; the competition is huge and it’s up to us to find the best of the best, agree on a partnership and convince them that working for Skřivánek is the best choice. That is a challenge for me, and I’m happy when I succeed time and time again!
Does working in Vendor Management somehow influence your private life?
Markéta: Working in Vendor Management is mainly connected with negotiating partnership conditions with our suppliers and requires a lot of experience in communication and managing negotiation tactics, as well as a great deal of empathy. All these experiences and skills are a great asset to me in my private life as well.
Petra K.: Since I work from home most of the time (and I am extremely grateful for the ability to do so😊), my job certainly influences my private life. Having a home office can sometimes be a great benefit, but at other times it can also present a disadvantage.
Petra S.: Since I became a mother, I have had to think about how to best combine my work and private life, and I’m able to do just that by working part time. Together with my husband, a linguist, I am also trying to instil an interest in foreign languages in my daughter; so, I can also say that I am reaping the benefits of what I’ve learned in my private life.
Štěpánka: I communicate with an enormous number of people, suppliers and colleagues alike. Everybody is different – everybody must be treated equally, nevertheless, individually. This teaches me diplomacy, self-control (it’s necessary from time to time 😊), perspective and patience.
And it’s the same in my private life. Just like at work, I try to embrace the motto “When someone’s life is not at stake, there’s nothing to worry about,” and it’s up to us to find the best way of tackling the challenges and tasks that we encounter.
What would you wish Skřivánek on the occasion of its 25th anniversary?
We would like to wish Skřivánek many more satisfied clients, suppliers and employees, and for the Skřivánek name to continue to be synonymous with guaranteed quality, tradition and stability in the translation and language instruction market.
Petra K.: I would like for Skřivánek, its employees and colleagues globally to continue to pull together in achievement of the Company’s main goals – to successfully satisfy the wishes and requests of our clients; to build good and amicable relationships as we (hopefully) enjoy working together; to overcome challenges and always improve, thereby developing the Skřivánek brand in the coming years.
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