What You Can't Afford Not to Know About Your Suppliers

Global supplier insight can help companies maintain sustainable savings and reduce business risk


Fortunately, some organizations have taken the initiative in deploying supplier management solutions that that drive greater insight and context. One diversified manufacturing company leveraged a combination of internal and external insight to measure ongoing performance and more effectively gauge which suppliers would most benefit from development programs. The results of the program speak for themselves (with some unexpected side benefits as well). For example, quality improved 9 percent over a six-month period when suppliers knew that they were being monitored. And quality improved by 20 percent after suppliers completed self-assessments based on lean-manufacturing principles. (This number rose to 26 percent for suppliers that also participated in development activities.)

By nature, global supplier insight comes from outside of a company's firewall. And to be effective, it must come from a trusted global source that is capable of providing up-to-the-minute supply intelligence to help organizations make the best possible decisions.

Where to Go for Intelligence

Companies need global supplier insight and content that focuses on three key areas to maximize their supply management results. These are:

  • Supplier performance and quality management
  • Supply risk management
  • Supplier content and connectivity

To provide insight and connectivity into these three areas, global supplier insight solutions also need to deliver real-time content, analytics, risk management and supplier enablement capabilities. These solutions also need to be offered in a platform-agnostic environment, leveraging existing processes, systems and investments. Like Bloomberg's financial information, which traders and financial managers use to improve their decision-making in the capital markets, purchasing and commodity managers must receive this type of content they way they prefer to digest it, whether pushed to their own desktop or through a specific application or even a designated terminal.

Regardless of industry, maturity and current capability, global supplier insight solutions can enable procurement organizations to take their supply performance to the next level. By empowering individuals with insight and connectivity, they bridge the gap between the internal and external, proving invaluable for strategic and tactical decisions alike.

Perhaps most importantly, they provide a support system and knowledge infrastructure to help procurement and supply chain professionals' deliver results even in an environment where expectations are constantly rising.

About the Author: Jim Lawton, vice president and general manager of D&B's Supply Management Solutions division, the leading provider of supplier intelligence.

SIDEBAR: Supply Management Takes Place Outside of the Four Walls Identify Sources of Supply
  • Find and qualify the right set of global suppliers
  • Ensure supplier-provided information is accurate
Manage by Categories
  • Understand what it takes to get a sourced product from the raw material phase to your factory floor
  • Tap into new means of supplier integration and communication
Optimize Supply Performance
  • Improve total cost performance to ensure the lowest total landed cost for goods and services
  • Optimize supplier allocation and reduce risk
Monitor Supply Performance
  • Monitor and develop suppliers to ensure high quality and performance
  • Implement proactive supply risk management
Re-source/Identify New Opportunities
  • Define areas of ongoing supply performance improvement and cost reduction
  • Treat the supply base as a source of competitive advantage
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