In winding down our series on monitoring CSR and related supplier and product compliance areas, we believe it's worth calling attention to how these programs are likely to evolve in the future. At Forrester's recent Sourcing and Vendor Management Summit, I presented a hypothesis that supplier networks, collaborative groups and even social applications will play an increased role in how we manage global suppliers. Among these, I cited Aravo Assure (a supplier network), Achilles (a shared-service BPO offering for supplier management) and SAP Supplier InfoNet as examples as to where the market is likely to move in the future.
While we could spend thousands of words just scratching the surface of the different types of supplier network operating models focused on compliance, it's our general view that this evolution is significant because it markets a fundamental change away from looking at supplier CSR and broader management initiatives on a one-to-one basis and instead considers such programs on a many-to-many one, creating new economies of scale. To eliminate duplication of effort, some of these services will provide a single location for non-procurement (and procurement) stakeholders to manage up-to-date supplier information for special initiatives like CSR, diversity, risk, etc.
We believe, as we've stated before, that these collaborative and networked supplier management applications will increase productivity, potentially by an order of magnitude, for both buyer and supplier relationship management. Duplication of effort, whether it involves suppliers uploading certifications or buyers searching for a niche supplier that meets a specific regional environmental standard will be eliminated. Most important, suppliers will provide and update administrative information once -- which will cascade across all of their customers.
With this series that began by focusing on the intersections of Nike's programs focused on lean, supplier management, supplier development and CSR, we admit to getting a bit carried away with providing additional commentary related to the topic at hand. But we've only marginally scratched the surface of our body of research. If you're curious about learning more, check out our supplier management research on Spend Matters PRO (which is free to qualified practitioners):
Supplier Lifecycle Management: Reduce risk, Improve Performance and drive Supplier Value
Leveraging Supplier Management Platforms for Multiple Goals: Risk Reduction, Supplier Diversity and CSR
Supply Risk Management – Segmenting the Technology and Content Landscape and Choosing the Right Category of Solutions
Beyond Basic Scorecarding – Supplier Performance and Development Approaches to Drive Competitive Cost and Risk Advantages
Supplier Management Market Observations: Recent Trending, Musings on SAP's Core Offering and General Deployment Pitfalls (for all Solutions) to Avoid
Accurate Supplier Data Creates Savings for Pharmaceutical Shared Service
Getting Past the Existential Connectivity Funk: Stop Waiting for the Supplier Network Revolution
Developing and Maintaining Accurate Supplier Data: Lessons from Personal Hygiene to Overcome Dirty Supplier Information in Finance and Procurement