Tradeshift Risk – Giving the Supplier Responsibility for Their Master Data

We mentioned recently the Tradeshift presence at last week's ProcureCon Europe conference in Berlin. The firm provided the chair for the first day, we heard a keynote speech from founder Christian Lanng, they had  biggest exhibition stand amongst the sponsors, live demos of their product (something not many people risk at conferences).

But the firm also made a new product announcement last week. After Tradeshift Buy, a fairly recent launch (see here for more on that from our US colleagues), we now have Tradeshift Risk. This is interesting strategically, as it does start taking the firm slightly away for the P2P heartland of what we have seen so far from them, into a wider "supplier management" focus.

Certainly, the core element of "Risk" might be better described as "supplier information management". It is a facility that enables suppliers to maintain their own "vendor master data" and share this with the buyer on the Tradeshift network. The idea is that buyers push the responsibility for compliance - maintaining that data in a current fashion - back to the supply base. That makes a lot of sense; it is a bit like the responsibility we all take on to keep our own LinkedIn profiles up to date. If there are good reasons to do it, then people – and organisations – will make the effort, that is the thinking here.

The concept is perhaps not particularly revolutionary. I was trying to persuade the UK government to do this in 2009, as part of the “encouraging SMEs” work post Glover Review. We were talking about a common supplier record so firms didn’t need to keep submitting their details for every public sector bid. I think we were ahead of our time, Naomi ... But from a quick look in Berlin, the Tradeshift approach is well designed as you might expect and looks easy to use for all parties. Here is how the firm describes it.

“Tradeshift Risk shifts the cumbersome task of ensuring accurate supplier data from the buyer to the supplier. Suppliers can add and update all their relevant data, which is then verified via Tradeshift Risk. Buyers can subscribe to verified supplier profiles and get instant access to up-to-date data throughout their supply chains. And they can also use scoring and rules to help strategically segment their supplier bases”.

Risk connects with Tradeshift Buy and Tradeshift Pay to provide a joined-up platform, for instance, according to the firm “it automatically pauses transactions for high-risk suppliers”. We’d like to understand a bit more about that – clearly, you can’t just not pay a supplier if they have become high-risk! There are other linked features here, for instance, the ability to run surveys quickly and easily with suppliers and carry out rapid conformance and validation type analysis.

What could add a lot more value to the Risk product is extensions and links to third-party providers; the first two that are in place are EcoVadis for supplier sustainability ratings and riskmethods for supply chain risk management. Both of those are serious solutions providers in their own right. Our interpretation is that Tradeshift will extend this area of capability further, including risk, but potentially including other elements of supplier management – perhaps performance, innovation and collaboration even? That may well be done through a combination of third-party applications and internal data coming from the other elements of the Tradeshift platform.

Finally, we are very proud of our photograph of Christian Lanng above – we think it captures the man perfectly, although it looks much better in a larger image. He’s in a bar in Berlin, but engrossed in his work, a mix of informality and absolute focus ... the camera on my phone does not have a flash, so I had to put it on one of the special settings to get any sort of picture, and this is what came out. Iconic or what?

Voices (4)

  1. Mark Lainchbury:

    Hi Dan

    The public sector has SID4GOV

    http://spendmatters.com/uk/sid4gov-procurement-portal-an-online-marketplace-for-suppliers-and-buyers/

  2. Dan:

    Could there be a tie-in with the public sector here, with its push to make suppliers ‘self-certify’ and the forthcoming Electronic Single Procurement Document?

  3. alun@marketdojo:

    We are seeing a lot of traction in the SIM space and the video of the risk tool is very nice. The idea of choosing to whom the information is displayed is also very neat. Having the defined fields for suppliers to fill in makes it simpler and I do wonder how this can be used for the more bespoke on-boarding with companies specific questions or would you need two systems? Some of our clients want to reduce the workload on the scorers and so may develop up to 20 questionnaires to pick and choose.

  4. Christian Lanng:

    Peter, great article – enjoyed meeting you. If I recall I was actually demoing at that moment and struggling with the wifi, hence the focus – but demos at 1am is a natural thing for Tradeshift, it’s afterall about the software!

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