Welcome to Achilles, supplier information managers to the world…

We announced last week that Achilles have become an Associate Sponsor for Spend Matters. Actually, there’s a bit more to it than that – we will be working with them on some ‘thought leadership’ material and possibly some events later in the year, so hopefully it's the beginning of a long and close relationship. If you haven't come across them before,

Achilles identifies, qualifies, evaluates, and monitors supplier information on behalf of major organisations worldwide”.

That’s their corporate USP; I’ve known the firm for years, and as we said when we first covered them last year, here, I had no idea they’d grown to over 600 staff in 23 countries, with over 700 customers worldwide.  Basically, Achilles enables organisations to have greater confidence in the strength and resilience of their global supply chain – which in these days of heightened awareness of risk, seems like a pretty good space in which to be working!

They’ve carved out what is a bit more than a niche these days, and are that rare beast - a UK based company that is a genuine global market leader.  That global reach and local office set-up gives Achilles something that many competitors in the supplier information field don’t have – the ability to say to a client “we’ll get our office in Santiago / Hong Kong / Lagos to actullay phone up, or even visit, that local supplier, speak to them in their language, and see what the problem is / if they can really do that type of work”.

They often work at an industry level (including oil and gas, construction and transport), looking to manage supplier information across a major industry or sector, which obviously gives their clients in that industry economies of scale. Whether this work involves identification and qualification of new suppliers or the ongoing evaluation and monitoring of existing vendors, they can gather and verify supplier and market information in a manner that a single customer would find uneconomic.  As well as the industry level work, they also work with individual customers who may want a more tailored service in terms of assistance in managing the customer’s specific supply base.

They are a genuine  ‘solution provider’, with a combination of a collaborative community building approach, expert services, industry domain knowledge, on-the-ground resources and enabling supplier management technology.

Jason Busch and I wrote last week about the Emptoris Xcitec acquisition and how this might lead to a bringing together of supplier management and sourcing management. I’m looking forward to getting Achilles’ view on that; they’re not into pure sourcing solutions, but they have such a strong position in supplier management, it will be interesting to see how they feel about likely developments.

I also mentioned previously that Colin Maund, Achilles MD, is a real expert on EU procurement, so I look forward to his contribution when we get into discussions (as we tend to here) on the more arcane aspects of those regulations!

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