Category Archives: Supplier Management

Tricky Business with Supplier Lifecycle Management

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post by Santosh Reddy, of GEP.

ERPs are funny. Businesses are even funnier. The last month saw me in extensive discussions with threes companies in different industries and continents on one topic – supplier information, from the moment a supplier is identified as a potential source to being selected for procuring from and paying to. The approaches and the reasons behind how widely the companies varied in their final solution left me wondering about the constraints on efficiency imposed by legacy systems.

Defining Your Solution Approach: Supplier Management 101 (Part 3)

supplier management

In Part 1 of this series, we introduced supplier management from a process and methodology standpoint before mapping it to various solution areas that are out in the marketplace. Supplier management often is called SLM because of its lifecycle focus, which spans initial analysis (analysis and opportunity identification), planning (sourcing), negotiation (contract management) and execution (performance), and closes the process loop by leading back to the analysis phase of the strategic sourcing cycle as a result of future opportunity identification. Third-party management (3PM), which deals with non-suppliers that are also critical to your organization — such as government agencies, third-party logistics, partners and (media) agencies — is simply the application of the appropriate finely-tuned subset of supplier management capabilities to the third party that needs to be managed for organizational success. And, of course, you also need good supplier information. In this installment we cover what is in scope from a process and information standpoint before mapping to solution categories that are available in the market.

HICX: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Strengths, Weaknesses, Competition and Customer Fit

supplier network

Those procurement organizations that have already deployed supplier management solutions or are familiar with the details of them are likely aware that they are often as — or more — complicated as purchase-to-pay (P2P) and other related solutions. While some providers targeting this area offer focused solutions (e.g., supplier risk management, supplier performance management, supplier portals), others go broad (and deep) spanning all of these areas and more. One such provider is HICX, which we previously provided a company and solution overview for in the first installment of this series. HICX competes against a range of suite providers (e.g., Ariba/SAP, Emptoris/IBM, Coupa, GEP, Determine, Ivalua, Oracle, SciQuest, Zycus, etc.) as well as vendors that target specific or broader aspects of the supplier management area (e.g., Aravo, Biznet, CVM Solutions/Kroll, ConnXus, DiversePoint, DIR, Hiperos/Opus Global, Lavante, OpenText/GXS/Rollstream, Source Intelligence, SourceMap, etc.). It also competes against “substitute” providers offering supplier management capabilities on a managed services basis (e.g., Achilles, Helios, Global Risk Management Solutions, etc.). This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides insight into HICX’s strengths, weaknesses, competition and ideal customer fit.

HICX: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Company and Solution Overview


Companies looking for supplier management solutions have a broad range of choices, ranging from independent solution providers to ERP modules of varying degrees of sophistication and depth. There are numerous challenges that come with identifying the right solutions in the market for an individual procurement organization. These include the fact that consultants and analysts generally have limited experience with the in-the-trenches capabilities of these solutions compared with sourcing and purchase-to-pay suites. Further, the individual capabilities of solutions can vary dramatically, and independent solution providers generally invest far less in sales and marketing in educating the market and building awareness than providers delivering suites or serving other areas of procurement. One provider that warrants consideration in the market is HICX, a London-based firm founded in 2004. It is essentially a supply chain master data management (MDM) solution with a configurable workflow that allows an organization to use it as the supplier (and associated product) MDM system. Even though the company now focuses heavily on supplier information management (SIM), supplier performance management (SPM), supplier risk management (SRM) and supplier compliance management (SCM), it enables end-to-end supplier data management as a result of its strong MDM foundation. It has also recently expanded its capabilities into the contract management area, with a new module that both can complete and complement contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions. This two-part Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an introduction to HICX, including insight into solution capabilities, product strengths and weaknesses, perspectives on how it stacks up against supplier management competitors and recommendations to potential customers.

ClientLoyalty Officially Launches Relationship Management Platform


ClientLoyalty, a cloud-based enterprise relationship management software company, officially launched its platform this week. The platform had been in beta testing since January, with a number of companies, including reported multinational and Fortune 100 corporations, testing the solution in recent months. Kent Barnett, CEO and co-founder of ClientLoyalty, said the beta testing was successful and the feedback provided by users during the last three months will drive ClientLoyalty’s product roadmap in the future.

Why Over-Compliance Can Actually Increase Risk

Supply risk

One thing that has struck me over the years is how disconnected supply chain risk management and supply chain compliance can be. Even within the supplier realm, supplier risk management and supplier compliance often can be strangely siloed. In a perfect world, you would hope that improved supplier compliance, especially regulatory compliance, would reduce supplier risk. Yet what often happens is that so much time is spent "checking the box" on supplier compliance activities that little remains to focus on the “real” risks out there threatening supply performance.

3 Ways to Show ROI From Supply Chain Risk Management Solutions

Supply risk

With supply chain disruptions like natural disasters, terrorist attacks and cargo thefts costing industries billions each year, it would seem like a no-brainer that companies are implementing solutions to help prepare for and respond to these potentially disastrous events. But procurement can still face hurdles in convincing key stakeholders to invest in supply chain risk management technology that enable organizations to gain better visibility into their multi-tier supply chains.

Webinar Today! Better Manage Your Long-Term Supplier Relationships

Intesource-webinar-CTA-2Join us today at 12 p.m. CST for Sourcing for Long-Term Supplier Relationships in a Hyper Competitive Cost Environment: Lessons from the Retail and Grocery Industry. Jason Busch, founder and head of strategy, Spend Matters, will be joined by Price Chopper Supermarkets to discuss developing clever sourcing approaches, maximizing your value from supplier relationships and more.

How Strong are Your Supplier Relationships? Webinar this Wednesday!


How do you find a balance when it comes to managing long-term supplier relationships in an incredibly competitive cost environment? The answers may surprise you just as much as the source: The retail and grocery industry. Join us this Wednesday at 12 p.m. CST for Sourcing for Long-Term Supplier Relationships in a Hyper Competitive Cost Environment: Lessons from the Retail and Grocery Industry with Spend Matters and Price Chopper Supermarkets.

Staying Competitive in this Cost Environment: Webinar Next Week!


New name, new date, same engaging and relevant topic. Join us Wednesday, March 9, at 12 p.m. CST, for the webinar Sourcing for Long-Term Supplier Relationships in a Hyper Competitive Cost Environment: Lessons from the Retail and Grocery Industry. Spend Matters and Price Chopper Supermarkets will lead the conversation, but stick around for a Q&A at the end for more specific feedback as you navigate your own approaches to strategic sourcing and long-term supplier relationships. Register now!

LeanLinking: Bringing Supplier Management and Performance Tracking to the Masses


LeanLinking is a three-year-old Danish company in the supplier management and performance management sector, what it describes as supplier relationship management (SRM). In bringing a low-cost SRM solution to market — both from a cost and also implementation perspective — and making it accessible to companies without a formal supplier development or risk management program in place already, LeanLinking had to make numerous decisions around usability, integration and perhaps most important, the guidance of users to adopt specific best practices for (primarily) middle market companies to manage their supply base. This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an introduction to LeanLinking and offers a succinct background on the company, its solutions, competitive models/substitutes, strengths, opportunities and our recommended fit (characteristics) of procurement organizations most likely to get the most from adopting it.