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Supplier Manager

Date: Mar 20, 2021

Location: CHICAGO, IL, US, 60603-4013 LAKE FOREST, IL, US, 60045-5201

Company: Grainger Businesses

Grainger is a broad line, business-to-business distributor of maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) supplies and other related products and services. More than 3.2 million businesses and institutions worldwide rely on Grainger for products such as safety gloves, ladders, motors and janitorial supplies, along with services like inventory management and technical support. These customers represent a broad collection of industries including commercial, government, healthcare and manufacturing. They place orders online, on mobile devices, through sales representatives, over the phone and at local branches. Approximately 5,000 suppliers provide Grainger with more than 1.6 million products stocked in Grainger’s distribution centers and branches worldwide.


Primary Function:

This role has strategic responsibility for the supplier relationships and cost of goods sold across multiple product categories which range from $50M in COGS to $200M in COGS.  The Supplier Manager is also responsible for managing coordination and communication with all internal stakeholders for any supplier related issues and leading all vendor negotiations / performance discussions on a periodic (monthly/qtrly) cadence.  This role will also collaborate with the procurement enablement team as needed to drive best-in-class procurement process standards. 


Principal Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Leads, manages, supervises 2-5 employees
  • Ensure Grainger has the best product assortment for our customers at the best cost. 
  • Ensure his/her team’s alignment to Company’s strategic direction.

Within the product category review (PCR) process:

  • Gather cross-functional feedback on national brand supplier performance (field support, supply chain performance, product information, customer service, etc.)
  • Evaluate current national brand supplier cost positions
  • Document national brand supply recommendations
  • Collaborate with merchant on national brand product assortment sourcing strategy
  • Develop national brand supplier sourcing strategy
  • Establish relationships with national brand suppliers
  • Conduct / finalize cost negotiations driven by product assortment strategy
  • Negotiate favorable terms and support for growing the business

Ongoing focus areas:

  • Serve as the key single point of contact for the supplier to key business partners at Grainger
  • Inbound from supplier (examples):  supplier driven product discontinuations, procure to pay issues, manufacturing issues, supplier relationship severance, product underperformance (damages, quality, warranty, etc.), product cost change (cost season and other one-offs), new product innovation opportunities
  • Outbound to supplier (examples):  sales force, quotes, RFP, cross-reference, and sourcing support, SSGP, escalations to drive business partner needs (PI, compliance, legal, supplier performance, Zoro, etc.), proactive management of commodity adjustments and business environment changes (bankruptcy, sale of supplier, market changes, etc.)
  • Collaborate with merchant and other business partners to review impact of inbound management issues on national brand product assortment sourcing strategy and determine action plan
  • Collaborate cross functionally to determine action plan for outbound management requests
  • Design a price/cost management strategy, which provides market competitive pricing, minimizes cost inflation, drives top-line sales growth and improves return on invested capital.
  • Manage and meet cost inflation targets for the organization across $50M - $200M in COGS.
  • Lead efforts to help improve supplier relationships with Grainger and make it easier for suppliers to do business with Grainger. 
  • Collaborate with the merchandising to bring new suppliers onboard.
  • Leverage supplier relationships to meet end-to-end needs across the business to improve customer and team member experience and grow revenue
  • Coordinate supplier reach out efforts/needs (i.e. trade data compliance process)
  • Establishes and manages relationships with suppliers globally. Will interact with key decision makers within the supplier’s organization including Vice Presidents, Presidents and CEOs.
  • Work with Supply Chain partners to monitor supplier operational performance – and take appropriate action to improve performance.
  • Leadership responsibility encompasses personal accountability and coaching of team to drive results through others with focus on improving gross margin (percentage and dollars), category ROIC & Economic Earnings, supplier performance, and product information.
  • Lead teams to ensure product compliance with all US and appropriate foreign regulations.
  • In addition, ensure team operates with highest level of ethics and integrity in conjunction with the GPM Professional Purchasing Guidelines and our Company Code of Conduct.


Preferred Education & Experience:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, Master’s Preferred (or willing to pursue)
  • 5-7 years business experience with a strong working knowledge of Supply Chain Management, Marketing, Cost Accounting, Finance and Economics.
  • Must have an understanding of Company’s business direction, customer requirements, supply management-marketing strategy, and demand generation fulfillment process.
  • Proven ability to drive and demonstrate results financially, strategically, and managerially.
  • Possesses a clear understanding of suppliers, customers, Grainger’s strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Ability to apply visionary thought process in order to construct executable plans.
  • Clear and thorough knowledge of the negotiation process and key stages: Sets high standards and expectations. Ability to maintain strong relationships and be able to influence them. Known as being tough but fair.
  • Proven Change Management skills by inspiring teams to welcome change, embrace new directions, and future opportunities. Anticipates change and proactively prepares for it by defining objectives, responsibilities and time frames.




Grainger is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.