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Vendor Management: Which ‘Friend’ Will Be There for You?

4 min read
May 27, 2021

Back in the day, the TV show Friends was a Thursday night staple—and tonight, they're getting together again for a reunion episode! Could we BE any more excited?

Read the curriculum vitae below and let us know: Which Friend do you want to be there for you?

Joey Tribbiani

Work experience: Joey is a jack-of-all-trades, yet master of none. Gigs have included a cologne sampler (“Hombre, for men”), a Roman gladiator at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, and a Christmas elf. His most notable role to date is as Dr. Drake Ramoray on Days of Our Lives.

Special skills: His resume says his skills including tap dancing, archery, horseback riding, and the ability to drink a gallon of milk in 10 seconds (but he can only sort-of do one of these things). He’s ordained as a minister and has officiated two weddings. He’s the proud recipient of the Daytime Soap Award for Best Death Scene. Loyal and kind, he’s also a little too into the ladies and may be a liability. How you doin’?

Vendor management skills: Does ordering pizza count?

Monica Geller

Work experience: Monica has years of restaurant industry experience with jobs including waitress, food critic, caterer, chef, and head chef.

Special skills: Monica is a perfectionist who values cleanliness and order. Compliance will love her because she’s a rule follower (“Rules are good! Rules control the fun!”) She’s won awards for her organizational skills, carries around a label maker, and has no qualms about redoing work she thinks someone else did wrong. Monica doesn’t back down from a challenge. In an effort to be hired for a job, she tirelessly attempted to develop recipes for Mockolate, an unappealing synthetic chocolate substitute that was later banned by the FDA. Naturally competitive, she currently holds the Geller cup.

Vendor management skills: Monica was once fired from her job as a chef after accepting a vendor gift of five steaks and an eggplant for Phoebe. The “gift” was considered a kickback and a violation of company policy.

Ross Gellar

Work experience: Ross is a tenured professor of paleontology with a Ph.D. at NYU. His area of specialty is dinosaurs. Previously he worked at the New York Museum of Prehistoric History. He was put on sabbatical from the position after a rage-related incident and never returned. Ross claims he gave up a career in professional basketball to pursue his love of paleontology and that he was the one who came up with Jurassic Park but the idea was stolen from him.

Special skills: Good at getting married (and divorced). Plays the keyboard as “wordless sound poems.” Knows how to pivot. He can be overly sensitive and arrogant, but can also fake a British accent.

Vendor management skills: Ross doesn’t appear to have direct experience in vendor management. Anecdotal evidence suggests Ross may not be very good at laying out clear terms when negotiating agreements. (See: “We were on a break!”) As a paleontologist, he’d probably be good at digging up old, dusty contracts.

Chandler Bing

Work Experience: Ask Chandler’s friends about his job and they’ll tell you it has something to do with numbers and processing and that he carries a briefcase. In reality, Chandler has experience as an IT procurement management and vice president of IT procurement for a statistical analysis and data configuration company. More recently, he’s been employed as a junior advertising copywriter.

Special skills: Condescending, insecure, and sarcastic, Chandler doesn’t make the best first impression. In an interview, he once giggled when his boss said he’d have “extra duties on his hand.” Another time, when his boss was bemoaning a big stack of documents on his desk, Chandler suggests shredding them and claiming he never got them. His boss thinks he’s joking, but Chandler is serious. On the other hand, he is very witty and smart and will reliably show up. People say he’s a good boss.

Vendor management skills: A career aptitude test suggests Chandler is well suited for a corporate job and his past experience in procurement suggests an aptitude for vendor management, though there are still concerns. He’s conflict-averse and bad at ending relationships. Rather than break up with a girlfriend, he told her he was moving to Yemen the next day—going so far as to actually buy a ticket and fly to Yemen the next day. What will happen when he has to terminate a vendor agreement? Could he BE any more afraid?

Vendor Risk Countdown: Top 10 Risks Third-Party Vendors Pose to Your Financial Institution

Phoebe Buffay

Work experience: Phoebe is a masseuse and part-time musician. Her song “Smelly Cat” has been featured in a kitty litter commercial. She’s also has had side gigs as a telemarketer, a temp secretary, and as an extra on Days of Our Lives.

Special skills: She’s hands-on—literally. An out-of-the-box thinker, she’s good at coming up with interesting solutions to everyday problems even though she doesn’t believe in gravity. She speaks both French and Italian and is proficient in aura cleaning. When she joins a new office, she’s quickly welcomed due to her fun personality.

Vendor management experience: Phoebe has demonstrated a strong preference for small businesses over large conglomerates. Sorry, Pottery Barn.

Rachel Green

Work experience: Rachel is a senior executive at Ralph Lauren with experience in women’s wear. She turned down a position with Louis Vuitton in Paris to stay near family. She began her career in fashion as a buyer and a personal shopper at Bloomingdales’. Before that, she was a waitress in a coffee shop.

Special skills: Rachel is a go-getter who knows what she wants and is willing to work to get it. Whether fleeing a wedding (Sorry, Barry) or taking her first-ever job to support herself, she’d not afraid to make bold moves or try new things. She’s kind, loyal, and fun—though she’s not always good at admitting mistakes and can be a pushover. She’ll win the office award for Best Dressed. If she doesn’t like a job, she puts in minimal effort (i.e. all the mixed up orders when she was a waitress).

Vendor management experience: Rachel is great at shopping and has plenty of experience negotiating and working with vendors in her role as a corporate buyer. Bargain hunting is not her strong suit.

Related: Risk, Reward and a 3,000-Foot Drop: Breaking Down the Risk in Free Solo

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