In the current issue of Cool Tools, Debbie Wilson devotes two articles to Apexon, a supply performance management vendor that has flown under the radar of many organizations. In one of the articles, Wilson interviews Colin Walker and Phil Kirker, procurement leaders at Woodward, an A&D and industrial manufacturing organization, which uses Apexon to monitor global supplier performance. According to Walker, Woodward chose Apexon because "we needed a way to identify strong suppliers and match those suppliers up with our parts. We wanted a tool that would help us analyze our data and prioritize our opportunities expeditiously. Our preference was that this tool would also help us monitor our suppliers' overall performance in a systematic, ongoing basis." The case study on Apexon's website provides additional information on how Woodward is using Apexon to improve supplier performance.
Debbies' take on the firm is that "the on-demand Apexon suite is really a business intelligence solution gussied up to harmoniously address the characteristics of the supplier and quality management processes. It normalizes data from multiple sources to create a useable central database of information, and it offers a series of standard reports, including supplier report cards and performance improvement plans." In my view, while Apexon may be the best of breed supply performance management to beat, there are a number of other vendors who are vying for this market niche as well. Emptoris, Verticalnet, and Ariba, among others, all offer capabilities in the area. Still, the Woodward example presents a strong case for this emerging vendor. The Woodward story is worth checking out to learn more about how supply performance management can help reduce total cost of ownership in a global environment.