Tagged Content: Plus or PRO

Concerned About Vendor Credential Compliance Risk? Now There May Be a Way to Rest Easier: GIS

Supply Chain Fraud The management of compliance risk in the supply chain must be attacked in a number of ways — almost always based on the organization of the right data and information. We recently had the opportunity to speak with David Bartley and Patrick Espie of General Information Services Inc. (GIS) to learn about the company’s latest offering, vendor credentialing management (VCM), which effectively enables companies to manage a certain dimension of compliance (credentialing) risk in their supplier network.

GIS is one of the top employment-related background checking service providers. The 50-year-old company was listed on the 2016 Workforce Magazine “Hot List,” where it was reported that the company served more than 2,350 companies by processing employment-related screenings on more than 9.2 million people annually. Among GIS’ client companies are some very large ones, including one-sixth of the Fortune 500. GIS prides itself not only on its information and technology but also on its high level of service (provided by a client services workforce located entirely in the U.S.).

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Statess (State of Flux): Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive & Summary Analysis

supplier management Statess, a supplier management technology solution developed and owned by State of Flux, a consultancy, competes in a sector that is confusing for providers, let alone procurement organizations. The fragmentation of the supplier management technology market can make it difficult for procurement organizations to create the right provider shortlist and select the optimal technology to meet their needs. Statess is an upstart competitor in this highly complicated sector, although one not as well known as perhaps it should be, owning to the limited sales and marketing investment of its parent company relative to peers.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Statess offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other supplier management providers. It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider State of Flux and the Statess product line.

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Statess (State of Flux): Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses

supplier network There are comparatively few sourcing and supplier management technology providers that specialize in the management of strategic supplier relationships. Statess, a vendor based in the U.K. and wholly owned by State of Flux, a consultancy and services firm, is one of them. What State of Flux originally launched as a relatively simplistic toolset for supplier performance management and (corrective) action planning has grown into a full-fledged supplier relationship management (SRM) solution that ecompasses supplier information management, performance management, risk management, governance and relationship management, corporate social responsibility (CSR), contract management and innovation management.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot explores Statess’ strengths and weaknesses in the supplier management area, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor as a potential provider. Part 1 of our analysis comprised a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Statess. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

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Statess (State of Flux): Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

Oracle Unlike e-procurement and electronic invoicing, the market for supplier management technology is inherently complicated for two reasons. First, the range of use cases organizations can apply are broad, and second, the vendors serving the market are diverse, often with significantly different value propositions when compared with each other. There are different ways to segment the supplier management market and we would encourage Spend Matters subscribers to take the time to understand the advantages of using technology to support different initiatives, from accounts payable-based supplier onboarding to enabling supplier diversity programs to strategic supplier development.

One provider that began serving the market focused on strategic supplier development is State of Flux, which positions its applications division as a supplier relationship management (SRM) technology provider. Founded in 2004, State of Flux saw an opportunity from its consulting work to develop a solution focused on strategic SRM that would eventually become known as Statess. What started as a simple tool for performance and (corrective) action planning has grown into a full-fledged SRM solution that offers supplier information management (SIM), performance management, risk management, governance and relationship management, CSR (corporate social responsibility), contract compliance and innovation management.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot explores Statess’ strengths and weaknesses in the supplier management market, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor as a potential provider. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Statess. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

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Top 50 Supplier Innovation Case Studies: Nos. 11-19, Electrolux to Honda

- August 22, 2016 4:00 AM | Categories: Innovation, Supplier Collaboration

finger sliding innovation ticker This is the second installment of our supplier innovation case study series where we help answer the question, “What are other procurement organizations doing in supplier innovation”? We’ve curated a “Top 50” list of some of the best case studies highlighting supplier innovation from a select group of major firms. We looked at the innovations in question, the results, the related suppliers (if disclosed), and some key takeaway lessons. In Part One, we highlighted how Apple and TSMC teamed up to provide more cutting-edge technology in the iPhone; how Campbell Soup Company lightened their shipment load; and how Dell leverages an all-important C-word, communication, to learn directly from their customers how to best work with suppliers. In this installment, we’ll look at Electrolux, Eli Lilly, Ford, General Mills, Honda and more.

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Top 50 Supplier Innovation Case Studies: Nos. 1-10, Apple Inc. to Diageo

- August 19, 2016 4:00 AM | Categories: Innovation, Supplier Collaboration

Business team standing against window with leader in front Here at Spend Matters, we try to provide procurement practitioners with not only some of the latest insights, analysis, and opinions on everything ‘buy-side’, but also with some time-saving strategies, techniques, and tools they can use to increase efficiency and add more value. One of the questions we often get from more advanced procurement organizations is “what are other procurement organizations doing in [more strategic areas such as] supplier innovation”? For those of you who have the same question (and related sub-questions), but don’t have the money to pay for a high-end peer networking group, we’ve decided to do some legwork for you and curate a “Top 50” list of some of the best case studies highlighting supplier innovation from a select group of major firms (and not just P&G!). We broke down each case study by firm, the supplier(s) at play, the innovation in question, the summarized results of the study, and key takeaway lessons. Each Plus installment in the series spotlights case studies on 10 firms, and in our kickoff we look at Apple, Boeing, Campbell Soup, Dell and more. Let’s begin...

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Keelvar: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis

apinan/Adobe Stock When Keelvar launched, in 2012, the sourcing optimization technology provider competed in a sector with several providers offering more similar than different capabilities. At the time, sourcing optimization competitors included nearly every vendor with an e-sourcing tool and a solver — BravoSolution (VerticalNet originally), SciQuest (CombineNet originally), Determine (Iasta originally), IBM (Emptoris originally). But in 2016, Keelvar's most direct competitor that is focusing similar percentage investment levels in sourcing optimization as a percentage of overall R&D is Trade Extensions. This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Keelvar offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other e-sourcing providers. It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Keelvar.

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Keelvar: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses

Global Risk Management Solutions From its roots in Irish mathematical academia, Keelvar has evolved in less than five years since launching to become the most user-friendly sourcing optimization solution in the market. It offers an advanced sourcing technology that a typical procurement team member can take full advantage of with minimal training and no special quantitative or analytical skillsets. In expanding the potential universe of advanced sourcing applications, Keelvar has brought a better approach to category sourcing and events that procurement would have previously negotiated in a manner that cost them potential implementable savings (and a chance to build better relationships with both internal stakeholders and suppliers).

Today, Keelvar regularly handles events with thousands of line items (and lanes, in the case of transportation). It also enables data gathering and scenario analysis in real time, just like its competitors. Plus, it now supports more than 40 of the most common constraints (e.g., split of business) that procurement organizations would apply to sourcing processes that take advantage of capabilities to optimize award decisions. More recently, Keelvar has expanded beyond the initial traction it built in public sector to retail, CPG and transportation companies, and is now even serving some Fortune 500 and Global 2000 manufacturers.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot explores Keelvar’s strengths and weaknesses in the e-sourcing and sourcing optimization areas, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist Keelvar as a potential provider to replacement or use alongside other sourcing technologies. (Incidentally, Spend Matters research shows that Fortune 500 companies typically use at least three different sourcing solutions.) Part 1 of our analysis comprised a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Keelvar. The remaining parts of this multi-part series will offer a user selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

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Keelvar: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

FM Global Resilience Index The capability of most e-sourcing suites has evolved relatively slowly compared with other procurement technology areas in the past decade. Yet there is one exception to this rule: sourcing optimization or, as some label it, “advanced sourcing.” On the supplier side, these technologies encourage vendor creativity in bid responses and even allow alternative bids. For procurement, they enable the application of flexible constraints (not just weights) against supplier responses to create optimal bid award decisions that factor into account price and non-price factors.

While advanced sourcing technologies got their start supporting logistics procurement events across thousands of lanes, they have now evolved to support just about any strategic category of spend where a direct competition route that encourages apples-to-apples bids in a reverse auction manner will likely not yield the best result. Sourcing optimization solutions today have supported some of the largest and most complex sourcing events ever conducted — in some cases, single events spanning multiple tiers of the supply chain with more than $1 billion in expenditure being awarded. Yet overall, adoption has lagged the market for general-purpose e-sourcing tools and suites.

Keelvar, a four-year-old firm that started as a spinout from a research lab at a university, is hoping to change this. Incidentally, CombineNet (now SciQuest) and Trade Extensions, two additional providers in this sector, also share similar academic roots. Keelvar's primary differentiation is that, unlike the majority of sourcing optimization software providers, it realized from day one that the solution wasn't a better optimization module, it was a better sourcing platform where ease of use was the most important driver of adoption. This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot provides a history and overview of Keelvar’s sourcing technology. This multi-part research brief comprises a company and solution overview, company-level SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses, competitive alternatives, a user selection guide and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

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Directworks: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive & Summary Analysis

robot While the number of providers in the generic sourcing platform market is overwhelming, the universe of direct materials procurement technology vendors, especially in North America, is small. Directworks is one of a handful of firms specializing in supporting manufacturing procurement activities, from design and engineering collaboration with suppliers to bill of material-based strategic sourcing activities to joint cost take out initiatives in the supply chain.

This final installment of this multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Directworks offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other direct materials procurement providers as well as alternative solutions (and vendors) that manufacturers may wish to consider. It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Directworks.

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Directworks: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses

MRO The market for direct materials procurement technology and suites is well established in Western Europe. In North America, manufacturing is a component of a more complex GDP equation. Perhaps this is more of a political statement than anything else: Countries like Germany depend on manufacturing as the basis of their economy, the US less so today. Yet Directworks is one of a small number of providers attempting to create a separate market in North America that carves out source-to-contract (S2C) — and in the case of competitors, source-to-pay (S2P) — capabilities for direct spend from generic procurement technology providers.In many areas, direct procurement solution providers are as different from regular procurement technology suite vendors as a vendor management system (VMS) is from e-procurement. Granted, in certain components, there is material overlap with generic tools. But manufacturers will understand the difference between purpose-built solutions and regular procurement suites immediately (although whether they will budget for a specialized solution is a different question entirely).

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot explores Directworks’ strengths and weaknesses in direct materials sourcing and related areas, providing facts and expert analysis to help manufacturers and procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the provider. Part 1 of our analysis comprised a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Directworks. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface and experience (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

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Directworks: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

manufacturing In North America, the vast majority of procurement technology expenditure, by Spend Matters estimates, has been focused primarily on automating indirect and services procurement activities spanning from strategy to payment. It’s worth noting that the opposite is true in countries such as Germany, where manufacturing is the focus of the economy. This has made it challenging for direct materials-focused technology providers like Directworks (and competitors such as Pool4Tool and SynerTrade, both of which have a strong base among European manufacturers) to be seen as a “must have” toolset compared with areas like indirect procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions and even more targeted modular areas like contract lifecycle management (CLM).

Directworks, along with its peers, is hoping to change this. Founded as Co-eXprise in 2004 with a goal of building a new type of direct sourcing solution not yet available in the North American marketplace, Directworks has since evolved since. What started as a solution to integrate the new sourcing tools of the day (e.g., RFX, auctions, project management, dashboards) with bill of materials, supplier management and collaborative workflow management has been evolving into a direct materials sourcing workbench.

Since then, Directworks has replatformed with an emphasis on being purpose-built for direct materials sourcing and cost management. There are gaps: auctions and sourcing optimization are absent, user-based workflow configuration is limited and product information management (PIM) is minimal. But the sum of how the parts interoperate is of more pragmatic value than before and should capture the attention of manufacturers.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot provides a history and overview of the Directworks platform, including how it can support direct materials procurement efforts today. This multi-part research brief comprises a company and solution overview, company-level SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses, competitive alternatives, a user selection guide and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

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