Using Supplier Management Tools to Drive Supplier Compliance — CSR and Beyond

In a post yesterday that commented on Sean Delaney's observations on E-Sourcing Forum on linking supplier performance management and CSR, I touched on some of the basic areas that are most often the burning platforms for companies to invest in supplier management tools. Yet simply investing in a technology automation solution to drive supplier information management or supply base management (or whatever you want to call it), it's essential to take a step back before running forward into automation. Our experience suggests that when it comes to supplier management and CSR programs, organizations often require a range of team members to collaborate on a common platform or environment, depending on the specific initiatives.

These team members may often include representatives from procurement, operations (supply chain), legal, finance, HR, line of business, internal audit, etc. The key for this collaboration is collectively engaging vendors across the broader supplier lifecycle -- rather than just intervening in crisis situations. Cross-functional teams can truly create new levels of value and insight for the business from initial on-boarding to ongoing supplier development, not to mention quite a bit in between. And without question, technology enables firms to more effectively manage and track the burgeoning amounts of information about suppliers from all phases of the supply management lifecycle and across multiple functions and organizations. Platforms -- whether SaaS or installed -- are essential to scale the management of supplier risk and governance issues and provide audit trails of key activities.

At Spend Matters, we believe that CSR supplier management technologies must not only enable traceability across supply chain partners but should also include collaboration (both internal and external) capabilities and the ability to provide full documentation and reporting of programs. What should companies include in a typical RFP for supplier management tools focused on tackling compliance and related areas? We often use the following as a foundation:

  • Supplier registration/portal
  • Supplier self-service for responses
  • Data integration (internal systems, third-party information
  • Multi-tier approvals, workflows
  • Multi-tier visibility and reporting
  • Document and certification storage and management
  • Workflow and process management
  • Full audit trails and process auditability
  • Scorecarding capability and vendor collaboration/development
  • Embedded templates, questionnaires

If you're curious about this topic, drop us a line or check out our Compass research on the subject.

Jason Busch

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