Daily Archives: December 9, 2008

The Sourcing Maniacs 2008 Vendor Tour Part 18: SupplierSoft

This post is a bit lengthy, so I’ve broken it into Set-Up and Supply.


Waiter Your pie, sir!
Wakko Thanks!
Wakko dives into yet another pie. A stack of empty pie trays sits beside him.
Waiter Shall I fetch another?
Wakko Most certainly!
Yakko So, not all industries are created equal when it comes to sourcing.
Dot I guess not! I never knew that some categories were so involved!
  the maniacs just finished their visit with Power Advocate, an end-to-end solutions provider to the energy and utility industry
Wakko between mouthfuls of Boston Cream Pie
So, where next?
Dot On to the Q’s I guess!
Yakko Quintiq?
Dot Supply chain optimization? That’s too much for Wakko …
Yakko QP Group?
Dot I think they’re consulting.
Yakko You’re right. How about Quadrem?
Dot The marketplace? Maybe.
Yakko I think they also provide solutions and services.
Dot Sounds good. So where are they?
Yakko Good question. I believe they have offices all over the world.
Dot I bet most our sales. Where’s their head office?
Yakko Let me check.
Dot Too bad. They might have been interesting. On to the R’s?
Yakko Rapt?
Wakko between mouthfuls of Boston Cream Pie
Didn’t Microsoft buy them?
Dot I think you’re right. I don’t want anything to do with Microsoft …
Yakko Rearden Commerce?
Dot Back in California … and they’re a little corporate for my taste.
Yakko I’m not ready to go back to the valley either. Resources Global Professionals?
Dot They’re a consulting and staffing services agency, not a consulting and staffing solutions provider.
Yakko Oh. Hmmm.
Yakko Yakko’s Yummy Yams … picture perfect produce …
the doctor Hello, Yakko. You guys looking for someone else to check out?
Yakko We are, actually.
the doctor Great … I just got contacted by SupplierSoft … a new supplier management solutions company … they want to give a demo.
Yakko Will they give it to us?
the doctor I don’t see why not.
Yakko Great! Where are they based?
the doctor The valley.
Yakko We’re not ready to head back to the valley yet.
the doctor That’s okay. They’re 100% SaaS and they will do the demo on-line.
Yakko That sounds good.
Wakko between mouthfuls of Boston Cream Pie
What does doc want this time?
Yakko He wants us to review SupplierSoft, a SaaS company. He says we can do the demo from here.
Wakko Great!
Waiter …
Yakko So, when’s the demo?
the doctor Ten minutes. I’ll send you the details. Have fun!
Yakko Later, doc!
  the maniacs prepare for the demo
  beep bip-beep-bop boop-bop-bip boop-bop-bip-beip
Yakko Hello?
Mr. CEO Hello. Is this the doctor?
Yakko No, this is Yakko.
Wakko I’m Wakko.
Dot And I’m Dot.
Mr. CEO The maniacs? Don’t you work for …
Yakko Not since last year.
Wakko We were wakko’d. Get it?
Mr. CEO Sorry to hear that. Anyway, I’m expecting a call from the doctor
Yakko Something came up. Doc can’t make it. He asked us to take the demo on his behalf.
Mr. CEO Well …
Dot Don’t worry. We’ll convery everything we learn!
Mr. CEO Do you work for the doctor?
Yakko We don’t work for anyone at the moment.
Dot So we’re doing a vendor tour …
Wakko learning as much as we can about the sourcing world …
Yakko and passing on anything useful that we learn to the doctor
Mr. CEO That’s interesting.
Dot Very. We’ve learned a lot!


Yakko So, can we have the demo?
Mr. CEO Uhmm, sure. Where should we start?
Yakko Well, Doc literally just asked us to do this ten minutes ago, so we haven’t the first clue about you. We didn’t even know you existed until then!
Mr. CEO That’s probably because we’ve been in stealth mode developing our solutions and working out the kinks with our beta customers until very recently. I don’t believe in vaporware, and since we’re a pure SaaS solution, I wasn’t going to launch a product for mass-market adoption until it was ready.
Yakko So how long have you guys been around?
Mr. CEO I started the company last year …
Yakko and you already have a product ready for the mass-market?
Mr. CEO We have four actually …
Dot Are you serious?
Mr. CEO Yes. Since we built our solution on the Salesforce platform …
Dot Isn’t Salesforce CRM? I thought you were in the supplier management space.
Mr. CEO We are. There’s actually a lot of similarity between CRM and SRM …
Yakko But one solution is focussed on customers and the other solution is focussed on suppliers …
Mr. CEO That’s true, but what you have to realize is that both platforms require the same foundation …
Dot … which is?
Mr. CEO Extensive information management capabilities. CRM requires you to maintain an interaction history with the client. Those interactions are captured and categorized as data. SRM requires you to maintain an interaction history with the supplier. Those interactions are also captured and categorized as data. Fundamentally, from a technical standpoint, they’re almost identical solutions … the only real difference is one solution faces the downstream customer while the other faces the upstream supplier.
Dot But what about SPM? (Supplier Performance Management) There’s no CPM equivalent …
Mr. CEO You’re right. But the foundation is, again, data.
Yakko So you’re telling us it really is possible to build an extensive supplier management platform on Salesforce?
Mr. CEO And then some!
Yakko Ok, I’ll bite … why would you do so?
Mr. CEO Salesforce is a scalable, secure, reliable, and proven platform with 47,000 customers and 1.2 Million users. They’ve spent over 150 Million on their infrastructure. It allows us to offer our customers big enterprise scalability and reliability from day one … and do so at small company prices. How many companies in the supply management space can say they’re hosted on a 150 Million infrastructure?
Yakko Uhmm … uhmm … uhmm …
Mr. CEO That’s my point!
Yakko So what solutions do you offer?
Mr. CEO We currently offer Supplier Management, Environmental Compliance Management, Supplier Corrective Action Management, and Supplier Audit Management solutions with embedded process and project management. And we have a Supplier Help Desk Application in beta.
Yakko I guess we should start with the Supplier Management solution.
Mr. CEO As you can see, it’s an extensive supplier information management solution that captures a complete supplier profile; contacts based on roles; diversity, quality, and environmental certificates; insurance certificates; non-disclosure agreements; documents; meetings and meeting notes; projects; and custom data-capture requirements. In addition, you can tag items, include custom links, and search your entire supplier database based on multiple filters. It also has fairly extensive reporting capabilities, and a customizable dashboard for the home-page which keeps track of your tasks, calendar, waiting approvals, and the reports of your choice.

In addition to being able to define your own suplier data model, it supports multiple sections for each information type, it supports attachments whereever you need them, customizable step and task-based workflows by user or role, and an instantly accessible supplier view from anywhere in the supplier management application.

Yakko What does that do?
Mr. CEO It allows you to see what the supplier will see at any time.
Yakko Well, so far it sounds similar to what Aravo and CVM Solutions offer.
Mr. CEO There are similarities, as they also offer supplier information management solutions, but we feel we have some significant differences that will make our platform more attractive to our target market.
Dot Like what?
Mr. CEO The stability of our underlying platform, our low-cost, and, most-importantly, the tight integration with our other modules, which include not only the environmental compliance (which we believe allows us to match Aravo’s capabilities) and the supplier audit management (which we believe is better than CVM’s capabilities), but our rather unique corrective action management and help desk solutions.
Yakko Let’s move on. I’m still waiting to be suitably impressed.
Mr. CEO No problem. As you can see, our Environmental Compliance Solution comes with extensive environmental data collection capabilities at the Bill of Material (BOM), part, and raw material level; the ability to track all of the relevant regulations and regulatory exemptions; complete specifications, parts, component materials, and material declarations; substances and substance declarations; and AVLs.

It supports standard PDF forms that can be filled out by suppliers and uploaded into the system by way of XML extraction and automated data load; it validates and verifies all data on definition and import; it can generate user-defined alerts whenever a substance, material, part, or BOM is not in compliance; and in addition to a standard set of compliance reports, it allows users to define their own.

Yakko So you’ve more or less matched the lesser-known offerings from EcoVadis and Co-exprise.
Mr. CEO Well, I’m not really familiar with those solutions, but I think our solution does what an environmental compliance solution needs to do. And it integrates with our Information and Audit Management solutions, which we feel is a big plus.
Yakko Interesting. Show us your Audit solution.
Mr. CEO No problem. As you can see, it builds on our information and environmental compliance solutions and allows for collaboration between our customer, their suppliers, and third party auditors. It also allows for the definition of corrective action plans and projects to implement and monitor those corrective action plans, which is based on our integrated workflow and project management capabilities.
Yakko Not bad at all. So how did you build it all so fast?
Mr. CEO We took advantage of everything Salesforce had to offer and built it in their Apex language, which essentially wraps Java in a rapid development language designed to take full advantage of the multi-tenancy Salesforce.com environment. We also used good coding practices and created our applications in an object-oriented manner that allowed us to re-use common components, which could be tested once and re-used wherever needed.
Yakko So what are your plans?
Mr. CEO Eventually, we plan to be the Salesforce++ of the SRM world.
Wakko But I thought you said you used a Java-Based language?
Mr. CEO Ha, ha. Good one, Wakko.
It’s an ambitous plan, but one we believe is ultimately realizable. Of course, we’re starting small. Right now, we’re focussed on manufacturing and distribution.
Yakko Why?
Mr. CEO That’s where we see the biggest pain, and the biggest benefit of our solution.
Yakko How so?
Mr. CEO Consider a large manufacturer sourcing 10,000 parts from 500 suppliers who has to get the lead out to comply with RoHS. How are they going to do this without our solution? They’re going to use spreadsheets. This is going to result in hundreds of thousands of spreadsheets. How do you analyze that many spreadsheets to find out which parts from which suppliers are not in compliance. And, more importantly, how do you insure that they get to the right person at the supplier who you are certain will fill them out properly without a central supplier database with up-to-date contact information? You don’t … and you scramble a very large team on a very large project, that takes way too long, trying … and risk huge losses from product recalls if just one part slips through.
Yakko And with your product …
Mr. CEO You select the parts that need to be in compliance, all of the suppliers get the PDF forms e-mailed to them, once the form is filled out it is automatically uploaded into the system, and you can run a report at any time that tells you how many parts are compliant, non-compliant, or in an unknown state because the supplier hasn’t provided you with the information. You can then run another report to get a list of the suppliers, listed contacts, and follow-up with them through the system, which integrates with Outlook. As you maniacs would say, once the supplier and part masters, and their relationships, have been defined … it’s easy-peasy.
Wakko Whoa!
Mr. CEO You said it, Wakko. And if anyone wants to see for themselves how powerful our solution is, we offer a free 30-day trial. We’re sure that it won’t disappoint.