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Supplier Management

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).

Supplier Onboarding: Linking Design With Action (Part 2) [Plus +]

You’ve defined a strategy for supplier onboarding and given full consideration to all of the elements that make your requirements unique. You’ve fully considered which internal stakeholders besides procurement need to be included in the process of supplier onboarding and management. And you’ve mapped specific initiatives to onboarding requirements. But now it’s time to define specific supplier onboarding workflows, fully linking design with action.

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

suppliers

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]

supplier network

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.

Supplier Diversity Meets Supply Management: A Roadmap for Success (Part 4) [Plus +]

As we conclude our initial series on creating a roadmap for success with supplier diversity initiatives (see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3), we come to a handful of final, in many cases tactical, recommendations that can make or break program success. These are the “school of hard knocks” lessons focused on supplier diversity data management that we encourage our readers to take to heart, learning from the mistakes of others (including us) as we’ve helped to rollout and manage these programs over the years for dozens of organizations.

Supplier Diversity Meets Supply Management: A Roadmap for Success (Part 3) [Plus +]

Perhaps the most important element that supplier diversity professionals should incorporate into their program management efforts is how to constantly incorporate general procurement efforts within their own. Working with general procurement should be the top priority for diversity teams. All too often, the trap for supplier diversity professionals is to lead a silo-based activity with few touch-points with general procurement.

Supplier Diversity Meets Supply Management: A Roadmap for Success (Part 2) [Plus +]

For outcomes, whether you get preferred delivery, higher quality, better post-sales support, more favorable warranties or better pricing based on prompt payments as a result of getting diverse suppliers paid faster than the norm, it is important to consider the need to engage the broader finance organization (e.g., AP) and even other functions to implement a program successfully. And try to broaden your vision and go outside the standard procurement playbook in the process.

Supplier Diversity Meets Supply Management: A Roadmap for Success (Part 1) [Plus +]

suppliers

There are few areas within the walls of corporate America that stir up emotions and opinions like supplier diversity. Regardless of where you stand regarding supplier diversity programs and how supplier diversity can be done right — because it can definitely be done poorly, even catastrophically so — this research brief is meant to serve as a general primer for procurement professionals needing to bring supplier diversity into their daily activities across the supply management function. We also hope it will prove useful for newly appointed supplier diversity managers and for senior procurement managers and corporate directors wanting to understand how supplier diversity fits in with their business, day to day and strategically. Our intention is to help you make the business case not just for greater investment in diversity programs but for the right programs to begin with. 

Freeing Yourself From the Chains of the DPO Stretch: An Empirical and Experiential Analysis [Plus +]

Before on Spend Matters, I highlighted an analysis where, in 12 of 14 manufacturing industries I analyzed, I found negative correlations between Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) and enterprise performance (e.g., debt you may incur to raise cash to invest in high payback initiatives such as B2B trade financing where early payment discounts and/or supply chain finance programs are established). In this Spend Matters Plus article, I’ll dive into the industry details and also provide some additional insights based on some research that we conducted with the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

CRM for Procurement: Lessons from the Sell Side [Plus +]

In a world where everything is quickly becoming a service (XaaS), perhaps the single most important differentiator is being customer-focused and aligned in order to allow you to deliver value to them over the long run. It is a simple principle, but procurement is not so easy to implement. Everybody who spends money in the enterprise has the potential to get more value from their spend and is a potential “customer” for procurement to help. Given procurement’s limited resources, adopting and adapting CRM principles, practices, and tools can help. As we get started, note that CRM for “supply” and suppliers is not the buy-side of “SRM” or supplier management – it’s a much bigger, hairier, and more encompassing beast.

So who are the customers? And should they even be called customers?

Many procurement organizations do not like the term “customers.” Some use the term “clients,” and others use the term “stakeholders.” Still others use the term “internal partners.” It doesn't really matter as long as the organization defines the nomenclature that works best for them. That said, it is important to understand who all the various stakeholders are within the procurement process, so that they can be appropriately targeted to drive more value out of the process. In fact, if you think of the term "stakeholders," it means anyone who has a stake in the process and who consumes the outputs of that process: information, materials, services, cash, goodwill, etc.

So, to be a stakeholder in a procurement process means to be a customer of that process. This means that procurement needs to be explicit in defining and working with 10 key stakeholders – and reconciling which of these will get the most attention.

Let’s get to the list (and beyond that, 14 critical areas of CRM begging to be addressed).