We’re keeping our promise of writing up the Spend Matters 50/50 (see Providers to Know and Providers to Watch) in the order in which we received their quick RFI response for their entry in the Almanac. If the procurement early bird gets the worm, Directworks takes the prize here. It’s no surprise actually that Directworks was the first to respond. After all, this is a manufacturing-centric procurement provider that is working with organizations with strict on-time performance requirements.
Directworks received no debate from anyone on the Spend Matters team regarding their inclusion in Providers to Watch. They are so far ahead of any other technology provider we’ve seen in combining elements of sourcing, product design/collaboration, complicated bid submission and management, data controls/IP, and related capabilities specifically targeted at manufacturing sourcing.
Directworks also nominated themselves as Sourcing & Supplier Management, eProcurement, and Supply Chain on our Almanac taxonomy. You can click here to see their Almanac entry.
Here’s some additional context on them. Directworks is 10 years old (the IP goes back even further, mind you), having been founded in 2004 by William Blair, former CTO of FreeMarkets (since acquired by SAP/Ariba). In fact, most of the senior management at Directworks has worked at FreeMarkets. Its core product has been deployed in large organizations, with one client providing access to over 850 team members in North America, South America, Asia, and Europe—and more than 3,700 supplier users in 34 different countries.
Directworks does not provide a strategic sourcing solution in the “traditional” sense – but it can clearly be used to run “regular” indirect goods and services sourcing as well. What it provides is a modular suite packaged as Sourcing, Spend Analysis, Supplier Management, Process Automation, and Compliance. But many of its best goodies are embedded in the modules (engineering/design collaboration, total cost management, etc.).
We included Directworks in the 50/50 list because their solution is completely unique in the industrial procurement market. While it’s certainly not perfect in execution just yet, it is about as ideal a vision for a manufacturing sourcing environment as we’ve seen. Even today, as a relatively small organization, the combination of assets they bring to the table makes them like nothing us we’ve seen. All manufacturers owe it to themselves to learn more about Directworks and their vision for direct procurement (trust us, you’ll learn something).