As many of you know, there are not many vendors out there that (claim to) offer strategic sourcing decision optimization, and fewer still that meet the doctor‘s basic requirements for a strategic sourcing decision optimization platform. Up until a few days ago, I could only certify six such solutions, though I suspected BravoSolution, especially with its recent acquisition of VerticalNet, made the grade as I knew both were close. However, with the recent addition of the infamous Paul Martyn (formerly of CombineNet fame) as VP Marketing, BravoSolution has been reaching out to analysts and bloggers alike and I received the demo I needed to certify BravoSolution (and it’s Collaborative Sourcing platform) as one of the doctor‘s Optimization Sourcing Samurai.
I’ll keep this post fairly short since, by now, you all know the minimum requirements for a strategic sourcing decision optimization (SSDO) solution, and thus what the BravoSolution Collaborative Optimization platform offers by definition, which are:
- solid mathematical foundations,
- true cost modelling,
- sophisticated constraint analysis, and
- basic allocation
- risk mitigation allocation
- what-if capability.
What I will point out is the following:
- They have one of the easiest-to-use constraint definition UIs
Not only is it wizard-driven, but they have their constraint categories broken down into four primary categories and 15 sub-categories. In addition, their capacity switches and supplier and lane filters make it really easy to define capacity constraints and supplier exclusions.
- Their switches make it incredibly easy to construct scenarios from varied data sets.
They have four types of scenario switches:
which let you determine whether or not you want to include bundles (to allow you to compare bids with and without bundles), volume discounts, and capacity constraints
- Price Component
which allow you to select your baseline scenario data and whether or not to include (projected) fuel surcharges
- Demand Component
which lets you switch between different historical and forecast volumes
which act similar to other providers’ attributes and allow you to determine whether or not you want to include suppliers, groups, carriers etc. and (automatically) define constraints that would exclude new suppliers, intermodal carriers, or suppliers without a valid contract status or force the inclusion of WMOB suppliers, etc.
- They have a very extensive library of built in reports
Not only do they have full-featured comparison reports (like any good SSDO vendor), award detail reports, carrier reports, but they have reports by business unit, geography, bid attribute, lane, incumbent, and scenario detail. The last report makes it easy to determine the differences between two scenarios (which is necessary to understand the cost differential) and their award reports include cost differentials that allow a negotiator to tell a supplier how much their prices would have to decrease in order to get an award.
- They have a very extensive help library.
The help library has information tailored to each screen, each constraint, and each option and includes a discussion of the possible ramifications of each constraint and option on the model as a whole.