Category Intelligence (Direct) Content

CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: Supply Risk — Mitigating and Recovering from the Grey Swan of COVID-19 [PRO]

supply risk

The mission of our “Coronavirus Response” series is to examine categories of relevant solutions and example providers that professionals in procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should investigate to reduce coronavirus supply risk.

We’re calling the pandemic a “grey swan” because pandemics are not unknown risks. If you look at the 2019 World Economic Forum Global Risk report, the “risk of infectious disease” came in last on the top 10 list in terms of impact and didn’t make the list in terms of probability. But, it’s on the list, as the report states:

Each month the World Health Organization (WHO) tracks 7,000 new signals of potential outbreaks, generating 300 follow-ups, 30 investigations and 10 full risk assessments. In June 2018 there were — for the first time ever — outbreaks of six of the eight categories of disease in the WHO’s “priority diseases” list. If any had spread widely, it would have had the potential to kill thousands and create major global disruption.


And guess what was included in those eight categories: Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

And if you look at some of the nearest risk types on the risk map, you’ll find:

  • Fiscal crisis
  • Food crisis
  • Unemployment and underemployment
  • Failure of financial mechanism or institution
  • Failure of national governance
  • Critical information infrastructure breakdown

Do these sound familiar? The report also shows how many risks are highly interconnected, and there’s a thread that runs through most of them: supply chains. Supply chain folks’ ears perk up given how often the term “risk” is uttered these days, and unfortunately not in a good light (note the last three risks in the list above). And those supply chains are highly interconnected global flows of goods, humans and machines — and viruses that can jump along for the ride. When the information systems/silos and governing systems/silos fail, that’s when the swan kicks your butt (which is in character for a swan, actually).

When corporations and governments alike don’t learn from the past, then the pain of previous risk events fade, defenses drop, preparedness falters and supply chains lose their protections which is shown well here (courtesy of Resilinc):



(Click image to enlarge)

This situation is why today’s brief focuses on supply risk management, the first of our seven procurement-centric solution categories that we’re covering:

  1. Supply risk management solutions that include supply chain risk, CSR risk, supplier financial risk, etc.
  2. Sourcing and commodity management, including advanced sourcing, direct sourcing, automated supplier discovery, and commodity management to help dynamically plan and source. (See this category’s recommended solutions for direct sourcing here.)
  3. Advanced procurement analytics to enable direct procurement and/or to perform “spend planning” when demand drops out or spikes. (Its profile for this series is here.)
  4. Procure to Pay (P2P) that emphasizes working capital, dynamic discounting, payment control and related finance priorities to help inject cash into the P2P process — especially for many cash-starved suppliers. (This category is discussed in-depth here.)
  5. Fraud, P2P and vendor management safeguards when new suppliers need to be set up quickly, and also when lowlife fraudsters try to use the pandemic as a way to steal money and IP. (Its profile for this series is here.)
  6. Providers with deep contract analytics that can analyze a contract portfolio for affected contracts from suppliers (and customers) for not just force majeure clauses, but other related clauses that tie to the multiple risks popping up at once in the pandemic.
  7. Contingent Workforce and Services solutions that are able to, at a minimum, help rapidly ramp up on-demand workers to deal with massive resource shortfalls. We are looking at four categories of solutions: for sourcing remote/online work; solutions for sourcing and managing contract workers at geo-specific capabilities; solutions to “direct source” and manage contract workers; and solutions for data management and analytics. (The first PRO brief from this category, about sourcing remote/online work, can be read here.)

Broader supply chain issues and solutions are also clearly in play, especially related to inventory visibility, inventory positioning, demand forecasting, capacity planning, logistics planning/execution, distribution/allocations, global trade management, product design, the internet of things (IoT) and so on.

But, even though the initial seven use-case categories and solutions are only addressing a subset of the issues, the ability to respond intelligently in the short term can also help set organizations up for the future as we get back up and running.

In this installment of our Coronavirus Response series, Spend Matters will explore supply risk management, which includes supplier risk management, but also the broader area of supply chain risk management (SCRM) that seeks to keep critical supply lines flowing. In the case of COVID-19, these supply lines include the critical components/materials (and supporting manufacturing and logistics networks) that:

  • get assembled into the ventilators that keep sick patients alive while this viral plague sweeps through
  • are used to manufacture the personal protective equipment (PPE) that critical health care workers need to protect themselves
  • support the pharmaceutical and medical device/supplies supply chains that create the products that diagnose and treat the disease with therapies and vaccines — as soon as possible!
  • build “pop-up” hospitals and everything in them needed to treat patients, who could flood in and overwhelm healthcare workers

Broader supply risk management also includes:

  • Understanding demand-side risk when demand falls off the table when 80% of populations are sheltering in place in the short term. The demand (or lack thereof) also ripples up the supply networks and service networks — especially to smaller suppliers.
  • Considering the supply risk of contingent workers who will be critical “flex capacity” to support the physical supply chains of foods, medicines, equipment, etc. We’re covering this more here and here).
  • Financial risk that occurs when suppliers, especially smaller one with thinner margins, are starved for cash as liquidity slows in a risk-averse market of cash-strapped buyers and cautious financial-services lenders.

Specialized supply risk management solutions and services providers can support the above requirements and help to answer a range of questions, such as:

  • What countries does my company do business in with suppliers at the tier one level? Tier two? Tier three? Which of these should I prioritize as truly critical?
  • Which suppliers are affected by COVID-19 within these regions? How badly are they affected? How can we find out quickly?
  • What are my products and revenues that will be affected? And what should I do about it? Do I have playbooks defined, and if so, how do I execute (and if not, how do I create them when this horror show has died down)?
  • How is my logistics network affected directly by COVID-19 (e.g., port/warehouse slowdowns and strikes) and how is it impacting my freight? What transportation lanes are impacted to see if my freight is impacted? Can delays or other risk factors be expected further down the inbound supply chain before it reaches my facilities? For example, West Coast ports were starving for container ship capacity because so many ships are idled in China in quarantine conditions. Now, as air freight capacity is impacted by massively reduced passenger flight volumes (and respective cargo capacity lying underneath), what are my expedited freight options?
  • Is there anything I can do if suppliers are individually high-risk? Will they be financially threatened because of COVID-19? How can I get visibility into their financial health, especially if they’re privately held?
  • Which of my affected suppliers are potentially unsustainable in their supply risk practices rather than just their traditional CSR practices?

For the supply chain risk management (SCRM) scenarios and questions listed above, we’ll discuss the best-known specialists in the area: Riskmethods and Resilinc. But we’ll also touch on Resilience360, which has unique capabilities within the broader supply network vis a vis the logistics network. Sourcemap also has some supply network visualization and risk modeling/monitoring capabilities, but hasn’t been drawn into the healthcare supply chains like the others (although the CPG supply chain has also been affected — as any toilet paper shopper has discovered!). Elementum doesn’t have its own native SCRM solution (it partners with Resilinc), but it does offer a command center solution that it is now providing as a freemium “virtual war room” offering.

These specialized providers don’t have to be your only choice however. For example, we’ll cover what Sievo (a broader procurement analytics provider with roots in spend analytics) is doing with an evolving “mash-up” solution that provides a view into spending, the supply network, risk overlays, etc. Simfoni similarly has a COVID-19 risk assessment dashboard solution that it is offering for free. We’re not sure how long it’ll allow free usage, but the website page for the offering has a slick little Power BI dashboard that you can interact with that gives a flavor of its capabilities.

In terms of supplier risk management, we will cover this as we expand our coverage to broader supplier management later (and supplier/third-party management is clearly a foundational process to any procurement organization), but the one aspect that we will initiate coverage on now is supplier financial risk management. Although the credit bureaus and traditional supplier risk evaluators / content providers like D&B offer some insights into supplier financial risk that we’ll add to our coverage later, we’ll touch on two providers, Rapid Ratings and Credit Risk Monitor, who can help assess supplier financial health for critical suppliers. LexisNexis offers broader supplier risk management capabilities, but you can check out its free COVID-19 coverage from a legal perspective over at Law360.

As a side note, there are requirements here for performing the sourcing and commodity management activities required to rapidly identify new sources of supply, conducting complex sourcing events for materials, parts and components (which may be tied to broader bills of material), qualifying suppliers based on targeted requirements (e.g., for a specific line), and managing and tracking suppliers based on custom scorecarding. We cover this area (No. 2 of our list above) here, and we also explore the demand-side volatility scenarios/analytics here (No. 3 from the list above).

Let’s jump into how supply risk management can help.

Through April 2020, a special PRO Expert Survival Pack is available to procurement practitioners only* at up to 50% off — Learn more

CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: Sourcing and Commodity Management — Securing direct materials during the crisis and recovery phases [PRO]

In this installment of our “Coronavirus Response” series, Spend Matters will explore sourcing and commodity management, with a focus on direct materials. With COVID-19 impacting logistics and existing supply bases, in China (even though China seems to be recovering), the rest of Asia and Europe (thus far), there will be numerous emerging needs for companies across manufacturing. This PRO brief will focus on the first three solution providers that we’ll profile in this category: Allocation Network, Coupa and Jaggaer.

The mission of this series is to examine categories of relevant solutions and example providers that professionals in procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should investigate to reduce, and even mitigate, coronavirus supply risk. And even if the solutions are only addressing a subset of the issues, the ability to respond intelligently in the short term can also help set organizations up for the future when sanity returns to the world.

Today’s brief focuses on the second of the seven solution categories that we’re covering:

1. Supply risk management solutions that include supply chain risk, CSR risk, supplier financial risk, etc.
2. Sourcing and commodity management, including advanced sourcing, direct sourcing, automated supplier discovery, and commodity management to help dynamically plan and source.
3. Advanced procurement analytics to enable direct procurement and/or to perform “spend planning” when demand drops out or spikes.(Its profile for this series is here.)
4. Procure to Pay (P2P) that emphasizes working capital, dynamic discounting, payment control and related finance priorities to help inject cash into the P2P process — especially for many cash-starved suppliers. (This category is discussed in-depth here.)
5. Fraud, P2P and vendor management safeguards when new suppliers need to be set up quickly, and also when lowlife fraudsters try to use the pandemic as a way to steal money and IP.
6. Providers with deep contract analytics that can analyze a contract portfolio for affected contracts from suppliers (and customers) for not just force majeure clauses, but other related clauses that tie to the multiple risks popping up at once in the pandemic.
7. Contingent Workforce and Services solutions that are able to, at a minimum, help rapidly ramp up on-demand workers to deal with massive resource shortfalls. We are looking at four categories of solutions for sourcing remote/online work; solutions for sourcing and managing contract workers at geo-specific capabilities; solutions to “direct source” and manage contract workers; solutions for data management and analytics. (The first PRO brief from this category, about sourcing remote/online work, can be read here.)

Owing to the magnitude of the crisis, Spend Matters recently made the series introduction available for free to all readers. PRO subscribers can see our follow-up pieces that profile the other categories and their solutions in that market. We will include a lot of information on each category PRO brief that readers can see without hitting a paywall, but since we also draw heavily from our existing deep-dive analysis of the providers from our SolutionMap database, some information will be available only to our PRO subscribers.

For sourcing and commodity management, the emerging needs for companies across manufacturing will include rapidly identifying new sources of supply, conducting complex sourcing events for materials, parts and components (which may be tied to broader bills of material), qualifying suppliers based on targeted requirements (e.g., for a specific line), and managing and tracking suppliers based on custom scorecarding.

After the pause button is lifted on production — in cases where one is put into place — these needs will become especially acute during the recovery phase in specific regions (which may be different from the recovery phase in other geographies).

The initial three solutions — from Allocation Network, Coupa and Jaggaer — all have capabilities in advanced sourcing for direct materials and/or strong support for scenario modeling and optimization. We will likely add providers with similar and other strengths in sourcing and commodity management at a later stage.

Each category-specific PRO piece in this series has three sections:

1. Problems and Use Cases. We’ll highlight the problems in force (which will vary through different phases of the crisis) and the various scenarios where solutions can provide deeper insights, intelligence and scalable workflows.
2. Solution Rationale and Value. We’ll outline how various solutions can help solve the problems and the specific questions that they’ll help answer.
3. Example Providers. We’ll highlight the solution providers that can support the problems and deliver value.

Some providers are offering coronavirus-specific programs and “freemium” commercial offers, and we’ll note those whenever we update this piece. We’ll also start the series with providers that we already have deep knowledge on, but we’ve been seeking information from other vendors too.

Let’s jump into how sourcing and commodity management can help.

Through April 2020, a special PRO Expert Survival Pack is available to procurement practitioners only* at up to 50% off — Learn more

For coronavirus crisis, SourceDay customers share a consistent lesson: Prioritize supplier collaboration today

As manufacturers weather the uncertainty wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, they’re learning that effectively managing the information supply chain with a distributed workforce requires adjustments from the traditional approach.

Supply chain managers are now cut off from their office’s communications that they’ve grown dependent on to collaborate with suppliers — things like spreadsheets saved to desktops, office phones set up to make international calls on behalf of the company. The supply chain managers are either feeling the pain of relying on manual processes or adapting to a new world where critical supply chain information is intermediated by SaaS solutions.

The latter approach is how customers of SourceDay, a provider of supplier collaboration solutions for manufacturers, are handling the COVID-19 outbreak. In a briefing with Spend Matters on Thursday, the Austin, Texas-based provider shared data it has been tracking across its user base on how the outbreak is affecting manufacturer behavior, along with case studies of how the SourceDay users have applied the tool to combat this crisis.

The lessons from SourceDay customers outline a clear trend: Pursue mass segmentation and communication of priorities with suppliers rapidly, or risk being overwhelmed by the deluge of change orders, delays and cancellations created by the pandemic.

CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: Allocation Network — industrial sourcing and supplier management for COVID-19 [PRO]

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, this Spend Matters PRO series examines selected technology providers that procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should explore to reduce and mitigate COVID-19 supply risk — and to recover faster on the upswing. The introduction to this series grouped the technology providers that we will cover into five specialty areas, with one vendor shown here as an example:

* Supply risk management (e.g., riskmethods)
* Sourcing and commodity management, including advanced sourcing, direct sourcing and commodity management to help dynamically plan and source (e.g., Allocation)
* Advanced procurement analytics to enable direct procurement and/or to perform “spend planning” when demand drops out or spikes (e.g., Sievo)
* P2P that emphasizes working capital, dynamic discounting, payment control and related finance priorities (e.g., Basware)
* Fraud, P2P and Vendor Management Safeguards (e.g., APEX Analytix)

Today, we profile the third essential COVID-19 procurement technology vendor: Allocation Network (Allocation). It is also one of the most capable solutions for procurement in the diversified manufacturing domain, based on our Q4 2019 SolutionMap ratings for Sourcing and Supplier Management. Allocation provides a direct-materials-centric platform that “grew up” in the automotive industry — arguably the hardest and most demanding for supplier identification, sourcing, first article testing and ongoing quality.

With COVID-19 impacting existing supply bases, especially in China, the rest of Asia and Europe (thus far), there will be numerous emerging needs for companies across manufacturing. These include: rapidly identifying new sources of supply, conducting complex sourcing events for materials, parts and components (which may be tied to broader bills of material), qualifying suppliers based on targeted requirements (e.g., for a specific line), and managing and tracking suppliers based on custom scorecarding.

After the pause button is lifted on production — in cases where one is put into place — these needs will become especially acute during the recovery phase in specific regions (which may be different from the recovery phase in other geographies). For European and North American manufacturers, Allocation is one of only a select few vendors who could become their “go-to” sourcing and supplier management specialist in the wake of COVID-19.

This PRO brief explains why.

Through March 2020, a special PRO Expert Survival Pack is available to procurement practitioners only* at up to 50% off - Learn more

Category Analytics and Intelligence Providers: Defining and Exploring a Nascent Market for Procurement Solutions (Part 4 — IT, Marketing and Should-Cost Software) [PRO]

This final PRO installment of Spend Matters’ assessment of category analytics and category intelligence looks at providers focused on IT, marketing and should-cost modeling/analysis.

Accurate intelligence and benchmarks on goods and services are essential to effective sourcing, yet few procurement organizations have comprehensive coverage for all data sources across all categories that they manage. So to help practitioners get a better lay of the category intelligence and analytics landscape, Spend Matters has begun a market scan of technology, data/benchmarking and cost-modeling providers that deliver “category analytics and intelligence” to procurement and other functions. And while few firms in the nascent mega market are perfectly alike, our initial findings have convinced us that category analytics and intelligence could become one of the most important provider markets for procurement to deliver best-in-class performance in the 2020s.

This Spend Matters PRO brief provides an introduction to category analytics and intelligence market and an overview of select providers by category. Part 1 of this series defined what exactly the market consists of, potential ways to segment it, and a basic framework for comparing vendors within and across sectors. Part 2 provided an overview of providers in the direct materials, indirect materials and cross-category specialist (direct and indirect) sectors, and Part 3 covered labor/services and transportation. Now for Part 4, let’s examine the providers focused on IT, marketing and should-cost modeling/analysis.

Category specific providers mentioned in this brief include: aPriori, Digital Decisions, Decideware, easyKost, What’s the Price (Buynamics), NPI Financial, Sourceit, 3quotes and Zylo.

Category Analytics and Intelligence Providers: Defining and Exploring a Nascent Market for Procurement Solutions (Part 3 — Labor/Services and Transportation) [PRO]

Accurate intelligence and benchmarks on goods and services are essential to effective sourcing, yet few procurement organizations have comprehensive coverage for all data sources across all categories that they manage. So to help practitioners get a better lay of the category intelligence and analytics landscape, Spend Matters has begun a market scan of technology, data/benchmarking and cost-modeling providers that deliver “category analytics and intelligence” to procurement and other functions. And while few firms in the nascent mega market are perfectly alike, our initial findings have convinced us that category analytics and intelligence could become one of the most important provider markets for procurement to deliver best-in-class performance in the 2020s.

This four-part Spend Matters PRO brief provides an introduction to category analytics and intelligence market and an overview of select providers by category. Part 1 of this series defined what exactly the market consists of, potential ways to segment it, and a basic framework for comparing vendors within and across sectors. Part 2 provided an overview of providers in the direct materials, indirect materials and cross-category specialist (direct and indirect) sectors. This installment (Part 3) covers labor/services and transportation. Part 4 will cover IT, marketing and should-cost solutions.

Category specific providers mentioned in this brief include: Avetta, Bodhala, Chainalytics, Coupa, Brightfield TDX, DAT Solutions, HCM Strategies, Jaggaer, SAP Live Insights, Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), TenderEasy, Trax Group and Sisense.

Category Analytics and Intelligence Providers: Defining and Exploring a Nascent Market for Procurement Solutions (Part 2 — Direct Materials, Indirect Materials and Cross-Category Specialists) [PRO]

Accurate intelligence and benchmarks on goods and services are essential to effective sourcing, yet few procurement organizations have comprehensive coverage for all data sources across all categories that they manage. So to help practitioners get a better lay of the category intelligence and analytics landscape, Spend Matters has begun a market scan of technology, data/benchmarking and cost-modeling providers that deliver “category analytics and intelligence” to procurement and other functions.

Increasingly, we believe these solutions will replace Excel as the sourcing operating system for a broad range of strategic categories. And while few firms in the nascent mega market are perfectly alike, our initial findings have convinced us that category analytics and intelligence could become one of the most important provider markets for procurement to deliver best-in-class — or better — performance in the 2020s.

This Spend Matters PRO brief provides an introduction to the category analytics and category intelligence market and an overview of select providers by category. Part 1 of this series defined what exactly the market consists of, potential ways to segment it, and a basic framework for comparing vendors within and across sectors. This installment (Part 2) explores the characteristics, relative maturity and competitive dynamics of providers in the direct materials, indirect materials and cross-category specialist sectors that offer a combination of direct and indirect materials coverage. Parts 3 and 4 will cover labor and services, transportation, IT, marketing and should-cost solutions.

Category-specific providers mentioned in this brief include these: Beroe, Fastmarkets, GEP, ICIS, IHS, Infomine, ION Group, ISG, LeaseAccelerator, MetalMiner, Mintec Global, The Plastics Exchange, The Smart Cube, RTI Global, Logicsource, SourceOne (Corcentric), SDI and ThomasNet.

Category Analytics and Intelligence Providers: Defining and Exploring a Nascent Market for Procurement Solutions (Part 1 — Introduction) [PRO]

marketing

If data is the new oil, then identifying the reservoirs and shale formations from which to extract prices, benchmarks and other pertinent purchasing information is a critical task for procurement and supply chain organizations. Why? Because the success of any sourcing effort depends on not just identifying the appropriate specifications and suppliers to satisfy a requisition but also on determining accurate market prices, benchmarks, forecasts and supplier capabilities to both strategically and tactically execute.

Yet all too often, sourcing and procurement groups begin drilling blindly. They use last year’s results to benchmark the cost of goods and services, rather than what those purchases should cost when considering all possible options. Most organizations lack a guide for finding the data sources and related tools like analytics and forecasting that can enable a more ambitious approach, as the various companies that can provide some intelligence are often difficult to identify.

Some companies may be trade publishers with access to exclusive data; others may be consulting firms that have moved into the data business, using price and benchmarking information as a foot in the door to upsell advisory services or technology; and still others may be native technology providers that have collected data as part of their normal delivery process than can be repackaged or analyzed to provide valuable insights.

Rather than drill randomly, sourcing and procurement groups need a map of the landscape for category analytics and category intelligence that helps them make smart purchasing decisions.

So we’ve set out to create that map.

In 2019, we began constructing a landscape assessment of firms that provide data/intelligence or tailored technology to support category-based sourcing efforts.

Spend Matters has spoken with more than 50 firms so far that fall outside the usual suspects when considering procurement and supply chain providers — many of which practitioners may not even be generally familiar with. But each of these firms in some way can help organizations deliver new competitive advantage if selected appropriately, and the deeper we get into this nascent “market,” the more we think that category analytics and intelligence could become one of the most important provider markets for procurement to deliver best-in-class — or better — performance in the 2020s.

This Spend Matters PRO series introduces the category analytics and intelligence market as we have begun to define it, segmenting providers into subgroupings by category. It includes evaluations of firms in eight initial groupings:

* Direct materials
* Indirect materials
* Cross-category specialists
* Labor and services
* Transportation
* IT
* Marketing
* Software (should-cost solutions)

The solution providers that we identify will be featured in extended Vendor Introductions reviews and will be available as we produce them during 2020 and beyond. Vendors that we already have profiled are linked when mentioned below. Further, we plan to expand and evaluate additional vendors and categories (e.g., warehousing) as we continue our research on this new coverage area.

Today, we begin by defining the sector, sharing an overall segmentation of the market and providing a framework by which to evaluate category analytics and intelligence providers to see if they meet your specific needs.

How can manufacturers reduce risk in direct procurement? Deploy a secure, end-to-end solution

guided buying

“They supply for success.”

That sums up the BMW supply chain mission statement, said Doug Markle, the CEO of Allocation North America, in a webinar with BMW about how the automaker gets the most out of its manufacturing process.

BMW’s high standards and its technology combine to meet its drive for excellence. To create a competitive advantage, a manufacturer or business with complex operations must ensure a controlled, digitized management process across the entire production lifecycle. And BMW stated that it organizes all of its sourcing events by using Allocation’s ASTRAS software solution.

In Part 1 of this series on technology for direct procurement, research showed a need for manufacturers to upgrade their risky manual processes and digitally transform how they source parts, collaborate with suppliers, manage the lifecycle of parts and materials, and how they can add visibility and value across the whole business. Manufacturers can do that by having one technology platform that manages the entire manufacturing process — from requisition through end-of-life.

Two companies that have made that upgrade are BMW and INEOS Automotive, another manufacturer that participated in the webinar hosted by MetalMiner, a sister site of ours. Both automakers have deployed ASTRAS, which enables end-to-end management of the complex supply chain and parts lifecycle. And they’re having success.

Direct procurement seeks an upgrade over spreadsheets, risky manual processes

Toyota supply chain

Over the last year or so, Spend Matters has written several articles and research briefs about direct procurement and the technology that’s needed to support it, so a closer look and some recent insights from manufacturers seems valuable to see why this technology needs wider adoption and to understand its benefits.

The overall view indicates that business leaders are avoiding digital transformation in this area — even though managing the part/material lifecycle, from direct materials procurement through supplier quality and end of life, is vital to discrete manufacturers, contract manufacturing companies, product assemblers or any company dependent upon direct materials.

If they did deploy technology that’s fit for direct materials, business could expect to see a lowering of process costs by up to 80%, more effective sourcing events, reduced cycle time to part qualification, less supplier and part risk, complete visibility across functions (like design, engineering, sourcing, quality, logistics), and the assurance that processes and best practices are always followed.

What’s more, not leveraging the proper tool exposes the business to more risks, as companies continue to run operations with a patchwork of spreadsheets, emails, calls and people’s memory to track thousands of supplier details.

Customer reviews for Allocation are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews for Allocation, a specialist in technology for direct materials sourcing and supplier management for manufacturers and producers who have complex processes.

The applicable SolutionMap categories for this report are Sourcing and Supplier Relationship Management & Risk. SolutionMap Insider members can read about Allocation in our latest report.

In each Customer Insights report, we provide a one-page summary of details from the SolutionMap peer review process. It includes ratings on how well the vendor meets its customers' expectations, three key differentiators for the vendor and a list of quotes from customers about the vendor’s greatest strengths. (The users’ names and companies are kept anonymous.)

Procurence Vendor Introduction (Part 2: Strengths/Weaknesses, SWOT, Selection Checklist and Market Overview) [PRO]

In Part 1 of this two-part Spend Matters PRO series, we introduced you to Procurence — a relatively new entrant to the global direct material supplier management space, based out of Warsaw, Poland. It’s a recent entrant to our SolutionMap ranking of vendors, where its scores make it a customer leader in the SRM category. While still a small player, its solution already has a lot of the breadth of more established players like Jaggaer Direct (Pool4Tool), Ivalua (Directworks) and Allocation Network. Procurence’s utilization has been growing tenfold year-over-year by its buy-side user base of over 10,000 users and supply-side user base of over 30,000 users. Whether it has everything your organization needs, however, will come down to your mix of direct vs indirect, and how similar your needs are to its existing client base, which it has been developing its Meercat solution with for the past seven years.

While Part 1 of this brief provided some background on Procurence and a high-level overview of its offering, Part 2 will provide a breakdown of what is good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis and a short selection requirements checklist that outlines the typical company for which Procurence might be a good fit.