How many data fields do you need to record data about your suppliers? There are the basics such as registered address, trading address, company number, VAT number, bank details etc. but what about the data that you may require to successfully select, measure, manage, and communicate with your suppliers successfully and efficiently? How about the legal requirements you and your suppliers need to meet and keep up to date, such as business insurance certificates and qualification criteria. How do you record what each supplier does, what areas of expertise it has and its skills and attributes that are applicable to you?
Suppose it takes half an hour to configure a new supplier into a standard accounting system.
This means one administrator, a high-cost resource, will need one whole day to add just sixteen suppliers to a system to make them available to your business as a reliable source of products or services. Once added, the data entered will subsequently change, the information will no longer be accurate and time will be required to constantly update supplier data.
It seems obvious that you will never have sufficient cost-effective resource to maintain rich, accurate, supplier data in your accounting system to manage suppliers effectively.
Rather than you entering data on all your suppliers, why not ask the suppliers to submit their data to you, push the work back to them? Whilst this would appear sensible as each supplier ought to be prepared to do this in return for business it is not common practice because few companies have an accounting platform that will support secure access by third parties. The majority of platforms are rigid, inflexible and secure and therefore inaccessible to suppliers.
We build you a secure, private branded trading portal, a Trading and Information Centre. Once we have created this bespoke portal for you we can start to populate it with master data that can be utilised by downstream applications. In this case, supplier data.
Since 2001 OCG Software has been building supplier master data solutions. Over many years the scope and breadth of the data we have collated covers hundreds of fields, across multiple countries and continents and in multiple languages. As a business the supplier data you will need to record and keep current will be specific to you and your business.
The areas to consider for suppliers to your business include the following:
Compliance with Bribery Act, Slavery Act, Code of Conduct, Data security etc.
What they do, where they do it
Goods, services, both, certification and qualifications
Sales, finance, operations, offices, locations, trading
Who is who, key contacts and disciplines, address book
Accounts, trade references, credit control, compliance
Due diligence, staff and regulatory compliance
Goods, services, contractors, sub-contractors
CSR, Environment, Health and Safety, Quality, Sustainability, Trade bodies
ISO X000, Insurance, documents, current and historical certificates
Quality, Health and Safety compliance
All documents relating to the supplier relationship, contract management
Complete record of all information since the beginning of time
Terms and conditions
Record of agreements between the parties
Performance data exchange, supplier rating, KPI’s
360 feedback on goods, services and projects undertaken, ranking Actions – event management, CRM
Enables suppliers to promote themselves to specific interested internal parties
Comprising all documents relating to the supplier relationship
Ability for internal users to exchange and share data on and/or with suppliers
Communication conduit between all authorised parties
Every business is different. A small, local SME with a simple business model will require to hold less information on its suppliers than a national or international corporate trading in services such as electrical contracting or disciplines that involve increased risk or compliance. Your portal takes into account what type of supplier it is interacting with and therefore what questions and data is applicable to seek.
The key advantage of the system is that it pushes the work back to the suppliers and prompts them to update their records and documents when they expire, keeping the data relevant and up-to-date, leaving your administration time free for better uses.
Initially, each of your suppliers is emailed inviting participation in the programme via a web link that takes them to a series of customised content pages, the incentive being the creation of a closer relationship, ongoing trade and resulting business benefits. By clicking on the web link they are guided through a series of questions depending on their profile and are asked to upload all relevant documents. Once complete, you are asked to review this data and approve the supplier for ongoing trade.
The portal becomes your primary resource for interfacing with suppliers. It is no longer necessary for your staff to communicate with suppliers other than through the portal where all data is freely visible to those in your company authorised to view and manipulate it. No more email trails, spreadsheets and contract documentation in users mailboxes or fragmented filing systems.
Everything is managed in one place, a single version of the truth.
OCG Software believes in a 'DRY' philosophy - Don't Repeat Yourself. This means there is only ever a SINGLE SOURCE of data that needs to be managed and updates eliminating multiple sources and out-of-date details.
The Datapool system has multi-level secure access for users, suppliers and staff so managing your data is easy and traceable at all levels.
Once the suppliers have entered their data into your portal you will want to utilise this data in the downstream applications that exist in your business. You will probably have an accounting system. The accounting system will need an up-to-date and current record of approved suppliers however the fields that it will be able to record about those suppliers will be a subset of the information they have provided to you via the portal. Rather than re-keying supplier data into your accounting system we build a simple electronic handshake between your portal and your accounting system. The two systems will be programmed to handshake and exchange data in the required fields. If you un-approve a supplier for trade in the portal, they will be de-listed from availability in your accounting system and vice versa. Likewise you may have other applications that require current supplier data that we can set up for them to receive in real time.
Links to an accounting or ERP system can be via a push, pull or automated mechanism. Accounting executives often prefer to manually import data into their accounting system. Understandably, they are nervous about transactions occurring without their specific knowledge and consent. Datapool can be set to operate to a variety of rules and business processes.
CBRE have published their thoughts on mySupplier in a series of videos.
Please click on the video thumbnail to view on YouTube.
"We started this process with over 12,000 suppliers listed in our ERP system. After going through the process we discovered that over 3,000 were either duplicate entries or suppliers we no longer used. Eliminating them has given our Buyers confidence that each supplier listed is viable and available for selection and trade."
"Although we had strategically agreed terms and conditions with many suppliers, the actual terms listed in the small print on the reverse of supplier invoices bore little relation to our agreements. This left us vulnerable to interpretation in the event of disputes. Through the Supplier on-boarding process our suppliers now have to agree to our terms and conditions on entry. As a result the number of invoices under query each month has fallen by over 80%."
"With over 93% first time compliance in agreeing to our terms and conditions we have moved the majority of our suppliers to 60 day terms. This has resulted in a one off and ongoing cash flow benefit dwarfing the investment in the system by a large factor."
"Our supplier management system paid for itself within days of launch. The financial rewards have been very high."
"I did not appreciate the real risks to our directors of breaching the Bribery Act. I now have full peace of mind that I have a full audit trail of compliance both now and into the future without any requirement to revisit the process or spend any time on it."
"We went into this process with a requirement to manage our suppliers in a more professional manner. We now realise the real benefit is our reduction in risk. We had little realisation of just what great risks we were previously taking, particularly with third party contractors working on client sites on our behalf without full checks and insurance being proven to be in place."
"We have migrated from seven disparate data pools of supplier data to three and are looking to consolidate further. We have eliminated a number of expensive systems and processes."
"We have a real pride in demonstrating our supplier management system both internally and externally. Our system demonstrates our commitment to quality."
"For the first time our suppliers can view and input on their performance in a simple to use system that gives all the elements of our supply chain candid, open and honest feedback on their performance."
"I spend very little time talking to suppliers yet have so much more information on them and their capabilities."
"I cannot remember how we expected new Buyers in our organisation to connect to our preferred suppliers. I guess we just hoped they would figure it out over time through experience. Our supplier management system makes new employees instantly productive."
"I no longer have to deal with Buyers throughout the business asking me to on-board one of their favoured suppliers because they cannot make the effort to find an existing supplier perfectly capable of dealing with their requirement."
For a small off investment in time, you now have a fully functioning mySupplier system that will populate all the downstream applications in your business, that require it. This includes websites, brochures, documents, marketing collateral purchase orders, sales orders and ERP systems.
We are constantly developing our technology by adding new functionality and features. We will be adding more details and information about our modules to this section shortly.
Data held within your dedicated Datapool is under your exclusive ownership at all times and is highly secure to your organisation only. Data is never shared with or accessible from any other organisation. Upon termination of a service contract, all data is returned safely to a client, in its entirety.
OCG Software operates an ISO 27001 compliant ISMS system for complete data security and GDPR compliance.