The Supplier Performance Category

How Supplier Relationships are like Marriages: Lessons from ProcureCon Indirect East

Cultivating a meaningful relationship with your suppliers can be difficult at first, but when accomplished, the effort can produce positive and lasting growth opportunities for both companies. Taking steps to get to this point, though, takes care and mutual respect. Recently at ProcureCon Indirect East, I had the privilege of listening in to “Providing The White Glove Treatment To Your Suppliers,” a panel moderated by Joseph Richardson, president and CEO of Professional Purchasing Partners. During the session, Richardson challenged the audience to think beyond a simple checklist for managing their supplier relationships, encouraging them to instead seek a true change in mindset and a willingness to develop flexible for each supplier their company worked with.

Aravo: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

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Of all the procurement solution providers Spend Matters has tracked over the years, Aravo was arguably the most ahead of its time, delivering a set of supplier management capabilities a decade before demand would catch up with supply for this multifaceted solution category.

Owning to the tenacity and passion of its original leadership and the secondary management team that would eventually take the helm, Aravo managed to survive and then thrive, waiting for the market to catch up to it — not the other way around. Today, Aravo excels at many disciplines within supplier management and third-party management, and has a track record of enabling some of the largest deployments of supplier information management (SIM) capabilities that Spend Matters has tracked in the broader market.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Aravo provides a SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as substitute providers to Aravo and provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies that can best take advantage of Aravo’s capabilities. Part 1 of this series provided an in-depth look at Aravo as a company and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the user experience.

Aravo: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Platform Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

Aravo was the original standalone supplier information management (SIM) solution in the North American marketplace. Founded in 2000, it is also one of the oldest independent procurement solution providers. After growing beyond its early roots as a catalog management enabler for Ariba implementations, Aravo launched a SIM solution capable of managing general supplier registration field and template-based initiatives. In more recent years, it has evolved into a full-fledged third-party and supplier data management solution that bridges a range of governance, risk and compliance (GRC) and procurement-centric requirements.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Aravo’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Aravo. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

LUPR: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

This vendor snapshot series is focused on LUPR, a new entrant in the supplier management technology arena. Pronounced “looper,” but not spelled looper, as that's a media site dedicated to bite-sized entertainment news and pop culture, and procurement technology is usually not that scintillating, the name certainly caught our attention. And maybe yours.

Perhaps you’re chuckling about the various puns on the name LUPR (e.g., that supplier threw me for a …). But once you get past the name — which we believe positively calls out and reinforces the need for closed loop supplier and customer engagement — it becomes clear that LUPR is addressing a number of areas that most procurement organizations have not yet gotten around to automating through technology outside Excel, primarily centered on supplier quality and supplier development in a direct materials context.

Built on the Salesforce platform, LUPR has two different solutions: a buyer platform and a supplier platform, which is free for suppliers to use. This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores LUPR’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering LUPR. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

LUPR: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

While not all procurement groups have adopted the “supplier” flavor of customer lifecycle management — that is, supplier relationship management (SRM) — an increasing number of organizations are taking the plunge and purchasing supplier management capabilities, either from standalone providers or as part of integrated suites — and sometimes both. The SRM sector is a crowded one, and Spend Matters has covered many of its newest entrants. From specialized initiative management providers to on-boarding and master data management (MDM) specialists and spend-specific vendors (e.g., manufacturing, services) there is no shortage of solutions to choose from, let alone individual technology providers.

One of these new entrants, LUPR, was co-founded by Sean Harley, a former colleague of one of the authors of this brief. (Harley and Jason Busch worked together at FreeMarkets). The name LUPR is a play on words, as one of the goals of the firm is to close the loop between buyers and suppliers with relevant data to help both parties sustain relationships, improve quality levels, resolve performance issues and collaborate on innovation. LUPR is not yet a full-featured supplier information management solution, but it does go deep in specific supplier management areas and excels in meeting a range of initiative-based requirements for manufacturers.

But in such a crowded market, the question remains: Is LUPR different enough to succeed? Maybe.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about LUPR and whether its technology and solution capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider LUPR in the supplier management and quality management areas. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

How Are Your Peers Doing on Supplier Relationship Management? (Part 2)

Last week, Spend Matters began covering the recent report from State of Flux on supplier relationship management (SRM), “Entrepreneurial SRM: Solving the Value Puzzle.” Part 1 focused on defining SRM — what it is, what it isn’t, and the six most important components of SRM, as according to State of Flux. The State of Flux report provides a host of interesting data on how organizations are doing on their SRM efforts, which will be the topic of today’s post. How does your organization compare in this regard to your peers? Are you ahead of the pack or somewhere in the middle, or do you have some catching up to do?

A Different Sort of Influence: 16 Areas Where Supplier Management Can Help Engage Your Stakeholders Strategically (Part 1) [Plus+]

Supplier management is too often an afterthought in the eyes of procurement and its stakeholders. Yes, it's important to collect supplier qualification information through the sourcing and onboarding process, and then also monitor the suppliers against their contracts to get what you paid for and to reduce supply risk. But shouldn’t there be more to supplier management?

Progressive organizations are beginning to use supplier management (and third-party management more broadly) as a better overall governance structure for how to best externalize the enterprise. This is especially true as supply markets get digitized (and disrupted) and supplier innovation can be brought to bear beyond cost/spend savings.

“Innovation management” is indeed one of the areas where a supplier management approach can help procurement influence stakeholders, but there are 15 other ways, as well. Having a broader palette of value creation (for which we’ll discuss six major value streams) will not only help improve spend influence but also improve the quality of influence to help elevate procurement’s value proposition.

Supplier Onboarding: Implementation Tips and Key Recommendations (Part 3) [Plus+]

So far in our PRO series exploring the nuances of setting up a supplier onboarding program we’ve delved into many specific steps and elements necessary to implement an effective process. Yet achieving a level of program certainty around these recommendations and plans is not realistic prior to engaging with a solution provider – unless you are prepared to pay separately for the provider to go through the scoping and delivery documentation as an independent engagement (which can be a smart approach, and probably something that you can get at least partial credit for if you award the solution business later on).

What is Your Supplier Management (SXM) Persona? Understand Your Requirements to Find the Best Technology Provider [PRO]

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No two procurement, finance, supply chain or IT organizations are alike. Each has its own persona that reflects not only its own unique requirements but also the stakeholders it serves.

The same principle holds true when analyzing supplier management solutions. Each provider has a persona — or set of personas — that reflects its value proposition, solution strategy and targeted customer segments. Therefore, procurement organizations should seek providers whose personas best align to theirs. In other words, there is no “magic” solution provider, and finding the right fit is essential, because supplier management applications are critical for not only identifying savings opportunities but also the effective management of the procurement function.

SolutionMap depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by a vendor. Participating vendors are scored both on their Solution capability as well as on Customer Value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including live demos) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated direct customer input from surveys. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of our Spend Matters SolutionMap vendor comparison ranking for supplier management and other strategic procurement technologies, the Spend Matters analyst team has dedicated considerable time to developing the unique organizational personas that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with procurement organizations.

We have used these personas to weight the requirements used in solution scoring, which includes customer satisfaction scoring by solution customers. Having collected feedback from hundreds of procurement organizations in recent months as part of our SolutionMap research, we see these personas as useful starting points for procurement organizations to classify themselves before looking at solution rankings of providers in the market.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis shares five of the most common customer personas for supplier management buying requirements. Aimed at practitioners as well as vendors and the consultants advising them, this research brief will be helpful to drive the type of mass customization of strategic procurement technology solutions needed to meet specific organizational needs.

Below, we present our five personas for supplier management. For each, we include full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), functional/solution and customer value emphasis, and recommended selection processes.

Supplier Onboarding: Defining and Setting a Strategy (Part 1) [Plus+]

online talent platforms

The sourcing exercise is over, and you've found a great new supplier. You've vetted, scrubbed and polished throughout your diligent sourcing process. The contracting has just concluded, and the new contract still smells of fresh ink. The savings look great, so you toss everything over the fence to the vendor management team and accounts payable to get it sorted out so users can start saving money. A month later, you meet the new supplier and find out that no new business has been awarded to them, and that they are still being held up in the onboarding process. So, what is this onboarding process, and how can it be improved? That is the topic of this three-part Spend Matters Plus series.

Vendor Summary Report: Supplier Management SolutionMap℠ Q4 2017 [PRO]

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This SolutionMapSM analyzes a select group of supplier management (SXM) providers. It includes coverage of supplier information management (SIM), supplier master data management (MDM), supplier performance management and broader initiative management (e.g., risk, third-party management) capabilities. It is part of our Q4 2017 SolutionMap report series, also featuring spend analytics, sourcing, contract management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay providers. Our Q4 2017 also features SolutionMaps for procure-to-pay and strategic procurement technology suites.

Spend Matters tracks more than 50 supplier management solution providers today. This analysis features many of the largest supplier management providers, including BravoSolution, Determine, GEP, Ivalua, Lavante (PRGX), Hiperos 3PM (Opus Global), Jaggaer, Jaggaer Direct (formerly Pool4Tool), SAP Ariba, State of Flux and Zycus. Among these providers it features select industry/specialty capability of providers, although it does not highlight them in a specific persona, a change from our last SolutionMap release.

SolutionMap ratings provide comparative rankings and insight into how each provider scored from a Solution perspective and Customer Value perspective.

Dive deeper with our full analysis.

(More Than) Top 10: Supplier Risks in 2017

We here at Spend Matters like to go above and beyond, which is why a simple Top 10 list just won't cut it. Join Jason Busch (founder and head of strategy at Spend Matters) and Pierre Mitchell (chief research officer) on Tuesday, January 17 at 12 p.m. Central for The Supply Chain Devil's Dozen: Top 12 Supplier Risks for 2017. They'll cover how procurement organizations can shift their investments and strategies to account for the world's major changes, and how to "map" these risks to their underlying causes (and causes to different types of risk). Sign up here!