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Importance of Delivery Tolerance in Vendor Management

Posted On: Sep 05, 2023
Importance of Delivery Tolerance in Vendor Management

In the complex and competitive world of business, effective vendor management forms the foundation for upholding operational efficiency and gaining a competitive edge. As companies progressively pivot towards external vendors as their sources of goods and services, often facilitated by  vendor management providers and supported by cutting-edge vendor management software, the concept of delivery tolerance has gained significant importance and attention.  

A delivery tolerance defines the maximum quantity by which a supplier can fall below or exceed the requested quantity of a purchase order item. 

This implies that the idea of accommodating variations in vendor performance and service delivery has become a critical consideration in vendor management. Within this flexible spectrum enabled by sophisticated vendor management software companies can foster mutually beneficial relationships with their vendors, while safeguarding their interest in seamless operations even though there are slight fluctuations or changes. In this unique blog post, we will thoroughly examine the importance of delivery tolerance in vendor management and analyse how it greatly affects successful business operations. 

The Essence of Delivery Tolerance 

Managing vendors in companies which is generally accelerated by a comprehensive vendor management system, involves a different variety of tasks, from identifying suitable vendors and negotiating contracts to looking after vendor performance and nurturing partnerships with them. But amidst all of this, the fundamental aim of vendor management remains steadfast, that is to guarantee that vendors' work is aligned with the company’s requirements and benchmarks. However, due to the realities of how businesses work, it is not always possible for vendors to achieve flawless performance without any variations. This is where the concept of delivery tolerance comes in.  

Delivery tolerance means a mutual agreement between the company and vendor on the deviation in the quantity of products supplied, as against the quantity mentioned in the PO.  It provides a certain level of flexibility to vendors to deviate in quantity while fulfilling the orders. 

Basically, in delivery tolerance companies define and work with minor variations of the total quantity of products on any purchase order while it is getting fulfilled. Along with the inherent complex nature of businesses, this concept takes into consideration, external factors and unforeseen circumstances that can lead to slight deviations in delivering the requested order. Hence, maintaining an acceptable margin for slight variations using delivery tolerance allows companies to stay practical while still ensuring quality and efficiency. This approach acknowledges the fact that although perfection is desired, it is crucial to be adaptable to the complexities of vendor partnerships and remain competitive in business in the global market.  

Key Aspects of Delivery Tolerance in Vendor Management 

Let us delve into the key factors of delivery tolerance that drive effective vendor management and overall business success.  

Positive and Negative variance 

Partner Portal, a cloud-based vendor management system, enables the users/companies to keep a record of the received orders. Once the order is shipped from the vendor/supplier’s side, the company will be able to receive that order. While receiving the order, the company can mention the actual received items as compared to the requested order. Partner Portal displays the variation in GRN (Goods Receipt Note), if any. For example, company ABC has placed an order of 100 X items, and they’ve received only 90 items. It means there is a negative variation of 10 items. Similarly, if the company has received more than the requested items, it will show as positive variance. 

If this variation falls under the tolerance limit set in the contract, then it is acceptable. In this case, the PO (Purchase Order) can be auto-approved. This approval process is configurable as per the users’ requirements. However, if it is beyond the delivery tolerance limit, the PO (Purchase Order) will not be closed.  

Establishing flexibility without impacting Business 

Delivery tolerance, an integral part of an effective vendor management system is to establish transparency and clear expectations. Companies while aiming for perfection need to understand that being too rigid about the standards might hamper their business due to factors like market fluctuations, unforeseen disruptions and resource constraints. Delivery tolerance underpinned by effectivevendor management software, like Partner Portal, empowers companies to deviate a little bit from the standards without compromising on the business objectives. 

Fostering long-term collaboration 

Building partnerships with vendors grounded in trust, transparency and mutual understanding opens the way for enduring relationships. When companies provide flexibility to their vendors, it fosters an environment of collaboration. Delivery tolerance allows the companies and their vendors to manage their businesses more effectively. By setting the tolerance level, companies can avoid unexpected expenses and improve vendor relationships. The companies can ensure that their vendors are aware of the expected quantity of goods and are able to meet those expectations. This helps to build trust between the companies and its vendors, which can lead to more reliable and stable supply chains. 


 The delivery tolerance is a significant feature of Partner Portal which helps in building clear visibility between the companies and the vendors with respect to order fulfilments. Partner Portal is a centralized platform that facilitates transparent communication, streamlined processes, and efficient data exchange. Partner portal further reinforces the significance of vendor tolerance, which helps in fostering robust partnerships, and driving business success through innovative technology and strategic vendor management approaches.