Webinar Invitation: The GE Supplier Management Journey

Next week, I'll be presenting on a webinar with GE, examining how the global behemoth with over $150BB in revenue, and active in industries ranging from aerospace to finance to high tech manufacturing, manages its over 750,000 vendors worldwide.

Supplier information management (SIM) has been one of my focus areas for many years now, and it is exciting to look at how GE has addressed their supplier information management (SIM) challenges. I have actually worked directly with GE's global sourcing team in the past; training and helping many divisions of GE buyers get up-to-speed running e-sourcing events. This opportunity to reconnect with GE and see how they handle SIM is quite interesting.

As could be expected, GE's original SIM challenges were many:

  • Complex supply chain spanning numerous verticals with significantly different data collection needs that over the years had led to disparate systems with inadequate data schema, and multiple gaps around supplier data regarding certifications, compliance, and contracts
  • Poor spend visibility from missing or inaccurate data points -- e.g. categorization -- and inadequate processes in general
  • Vendor proliferation: there are 700,000 global suppliers post cleanup!
  • Global organization needing multiple interface languages; not only the corporate English but also French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese and others

As early as the 1990s, GE internally identified their vendor information management situation as an issue. Over the years, as technology has developed, GE has worked toward a remedy. The advent of SaaS solutions in combination with current SIM and master data management (MDM) thinking finally led to a breakthrough for GE, which is when they adopted the Aravo SIM platform.

With Aravo, GE has now managed to create one globally deployed vendor master management solution ("GSL") that addresses their need for a single source of truth when managing all suppliers across the entire GE organization. Other benefits with this global single instance approach are:

  • Full visibility and enablement of vendor management automation
  • Lower operating costs by removal of redundant vendor management solutions
  • Consistent data collection to meet compliance and regulatory needs

There is more to the story than this brief post can address! We'll be sharing more details around how GE has driven supplier information management success, including Spend Matters commentary on setting up supplier management technology implementations right from the start. Join us on June 20 from 10-11am Central for this Aravo webinar.

- Thomas Kase

Voices (8)

  1. Thomas Kase:

    Thanks for the input – additional clarity need duly noted for future webinars – although I thought the multiple mentions of Aravo in the post (especially the closing line) would have made it clear who the sponsoring provider was.

    By the way, from my years working for solution providers I know how challenging it is to find companies that have interesting stories to tell and are also willing to go on the record. At Spend Matters we always welcome practitioners to share their stories, but realistically speaking, we typically rely on solution providers to get corporate buy-in on sharing.

    The Aravo webinar with GE went well – solid attendance – and I will do a follow-up interview with GE’s Thomas Hattier to address the many questions that we didn’t have time to address.

    Stay tuned to this channel!

  2. SM Watcher:

    @Humans Must Eat:

    I did not suggest that Jason or Thomas should do anything for free. I have been following SM from early days; I love SM, Jason, and everyone here. I know many Aravo folks and I love Aravo. I don’t want anyone to go hungry and everyone must eat 🙂

    Jason & Team have always done a great job of being independent in all articles/posts in general (except for Jason’s soft corner for Ariba and no love for Commerce One, from the rivalry in those days ;-).

    This post seemed like a webinar by SpendMatters but it was odd that the webinar linked to Aravo site and Aravo’s sponsorship was not stated anywhere. My perspective on reading it would have been different if I knew it was sponsored by Aravo. It looked like this was being hidden for some reason.

    All I suggested was that such "sponsored" posts should indicate the sponsorship. Just like journalists/media discloses a financial stake/affiliation when reporting on an affiliated entity. Or, disclosures by wall street analysts when reporting on a stock they own.

    Any such disclosure should not affect readership of the blog and sponsors have even more visibility. And everyone can "eat more" 🙂

  3. Humans Must Eat:

    @SM Watcher: Apparently you are proposing that SM should, at its own expense:

    (a) identify a company that has implemented [some solution] recently;
    (b) approach said company with a proposal that the company tell its story in a webinar;
    (c) pay for the webinar;
    (d) pay SM personnel to research and conduct the webinar;
    (e) pay for the promotion of the webinar by writing and running articles in the SM blog (presumably at the expense of other articles and content).

    And SM should do all these things, funded only by the adverts you see on the right (which you presumably also object to), and by whatever limited subscriptions are currently being paid to Pro?

    I love free content, too. But content costs money. If Aravo thinks that bringing SM in to run a webinar wherein one of its clients talks about their Aravo implementation, and Aravo is willing to pay for this, do we not all benefit? Furthermore, I do not think that SM is interested in "playing patsy" with respect to the implementation. I would expect SM to ask hard questions, some of which could potentially be embarrassing to Aravo. So, bravo to Aravo for taking that risk.

    Finally, who among the readers of this blog does not understand the above? We are all adults here.

  4. SM Watcher:

    Godfather is right! The line between Paid PR and Blogging/Journalism is indeed blurred here. The article title and body seems to indicate that the article/webinar is about GE by Azul Partners / Spend Matters / Thomas Kase. Only the list line mentions that the webinar is about Aravo by Aravo.

    Jason/Thomas, please honor our trust in your independence by stating upfront/clearly that an article is from/about a sponsor.

  5. Thomas Kase:

    @Godfather – those are GE’s words: "their vendor information management situation" was becoming an issue to them back in the ’90s. So?

    A firm of GE’s size and history has created, acquired, sold, used, discontinued etc more solutions than we have space to write about here. That isn’t exactly news to any of our readers.

    You’re welcome to attend the webinar to hear us talk more about SIM – I’ll open up with a general piece around where you should set your SIM goals, what to expect from SIM solutions these days, and then we’ll hear directly from GE what they have done.

    Sounds like you might have a few good questions for GE and Aravo – shoot them to me and I’ll make sure they get addressed.

    email me here: tkase at azulpartners dot com

  6. Gary H:

    You are correct godfather

  7. The Godfather:

    For the other members of the GE Mafia, I should have noted VerticalNet, FreeMarkets, B2B Commerce and Analytics, Inc.

  8. The Godfather:

    Wait a minute. The line between PR and fact is getting a bit fuzzy here.

    GE identified Vendor Information as an issue in 1990’s? They’ve annointed Aravo as the second coming of supplier information?

    Is this the same GE whose accounts payable said in 2011 they were using Aravo to, "… support our efforts to develop and strengthen relationships with our small business and diversity suppliers." (Tom Hattier, GE SSS/AP)

    Or the GE whose CIO and SVP said in 2002 that Zycus would, "provide significant benefits in terms of increased data integrity and superior sourcing decisions brought about by increased spend visibility" (PRNewswire 12/9/2002).

    Or the GE whose Global eXchange Services purchased TPN Register in 1997 as VP Harvey Seegers said would give companies, "powerful new ways to manage their entire purchasing process". (PR Newswire 4/4/1997) (right Gary)

    Or were those the ones that swore by CommerceOne, ProcurePro, EzeeNet Infotech, MarketMile, etc.

    Or was it the GE who began supplier and purchasing coordination with COMPIS in 1987 and EMPIS in 1931 by W.R. Burrows.

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