Achilles get supplier information management on track with train deal (sorry…)

Jason Busch paid a flying visit to the UK last week so we had a couple of days to rush around and meet people, drink warm English beer and plan exciting developments for later in 2012...

Amongst the folk we spoke to were the marketing team from Achilles, Supplier Information and Risk Management solution providers.  Their team took the opportunity to ask Jason penetrating questions about the market , which took us onto the issue of their competitors. And that’s what makes Achilles so unusual, maybe unique in our procurement and supply chain eco-system.

Because.. it’s really difficult to put them alongside any other firms. Virtually every other procurement solutions provider you name (and maybe Sievo are the one other exception who come to mind) have obvious and pretty direct  competitors – with Achilles it’s tough to think of any.

Many firms offer Supplier Information Management solutions, but usually as a largely self service software platform where suppliers can register and provide detailed information about themselves. But Achilles add their capability to verify the information, and if necessary take this further into full supplier auditing and appraisal, which combines with the SIM platform to provide something that is, as we say, pretty unique.

Achilles have grown largely through developing industry vertical communities, and that is their heritage and still their core business. They’re strong in sectors such as oil and gas, construction, transportation, and now automotive, where they run SIM programmes for that whole industry. But now they’re seeing increasing business via major deals with individual customers.

There’s one huge global company where implementation of an Achilles-run programme is in progress; and Achilles announced recently another win, whereby they’re taking over supplier sourcing, information management and pre-qualification for a major train company:

First Greater Western Ltd (FGW), train operator of one of the largest rail networks in the UK, is the first rail company to implement a single supplier management system with Achilles.  FGW and Achilles announced that they have signed an agreement to implement Achilles’ Total Supplier Management Solution (TSMS) with the aim of improving both the management of risks in an increasingly complex supply chain and the accuracy of supplier data across the entire organisation.

It’s all about getting a consistent view of the supply base, and being able to manage supply chain risk from an informed standpoint – which requires good, robust and reliable information.

We’ve written in our recent research paper (available to download free of charge here) about the need for CPOs to use external resource effectively - solution providers and the like – to maximise their own performance. That paper also explains why SIM is a good area to consider in terms of such external provision. And examples like FGW show that major organisations are increasingly agreeing with that analysis.

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