Order/Demand Capture, Sourcing, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Integration & Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support
As SciQuest sees it, there is growing fatigue with the monolithic IT systems once intended to solve all enterprise procurement needs. In the past, ERP systems and one-size-fits-all, horizontally-oriented e-procurement applications were seen as the solution to all purchasing needs. For the purchase of the direct goods used for manufacturing and just-in-time inventory, their use has been honed to near perfection; however, they have proven to be ineffective in the purchase of indirect goods and services, SciQuest asserts.
The "next wave" of supply chain innovation has already begun as organizations strive to manage indirect spend with the same level of precision, best practices and solutions found in the direct supply chain, the solution provider says. To accomplish this, procurement must evolve from a processing function into one that engages all participants in the purchase of indirect goods and services – including all types of end users, administrators and suppliers – together in one integrated and interactive environment. In this way, every component of the purchasing process becomes transparent and automated, providing all involved with real-time access to the information they need to make better, more strategic decisions.
SciQuest offers software-as-a-service solutions that it says are aimed at tackling the challenges presented by indirect procurement, with a focus on environments such as healthcare, bio-pharma and medical research, as well as higher education. The company's provides a Web-based shopping platform that allows buyers to browse and comparison shop. Instead of having to fill out forms, work through an administrator or chase down approvals, they add items to their virtual shopping cart and the rest of the process is automated. The result, SciQuest says, is that procurement becomes easier and less time-consuming – a key factor in user adoption – while procurement staff gain visibility into where spending occurs and with whom.
SigmaQuest said there are three compelling events in the high-tech/electronics industry that will shape the next wave of product lifecycle management:
1. Warranty Expenses – Aberdeen Group estimated that warranty claims cost U.S. companies $2 billion per month. However, most manufacturers are not certain of what causes the product defects that lead to warranty claims and product returns, or what they can do to fix those quality problems quickly.
2. Outsourcing – Managing supplier quality and in-process quality are significant challenges for manufacturers in a outsource environment. Autonomous facilities resist having to march in line, so getting composite metrics across plants is elusive.
3. Quality Mandates – Requirements for data collection and reporting are dictated by the company's business practices, customer requirements and government regulations.
SigmaQuest solutions offer a closed-loop quality system by tying quality management to warranty or supplier management. This allows customers to become performance-driven organizations. It enables manufacturers to track the quality of components as they come off assembly and test lines. Its SigmaSure product suite allows users to associate specific components with specific finished products, and to track and analyze the performance of those products and components throughout their lifecycles. Using SigmaQuest's Suite, customers can reduce the impact of recalls, better manage suppliers and even apportion warranty liability to suppliers who may have been responsible for bad parts.