EC Sourcing Makes Sourcing Easy and Affordable

Today I’m going to briefly introduce you to yet another e-Sourcing company that you just might want to consider if you’re a mid-market company who has yet to adopt a sourcing solution and wants to get started with something that’s easy to use, easier to manage, and easier still on the budget. With pricing starting around 3K a month (depending on the size of your company and the number of licenses you need), you can get full access to a basic e-Negotiation suite with RFX, Auctions, Project Management, a Contract Repository, and Corrective Action Reporting with the EC Sourcing Group solution. And while it may not have as many features as some of the other platforms on the market, it doesn’t have the price tag either. (A number of companies quote twice as much for fundamentally the same functionality.)

In fact, EC Sourcing made a conscious decision to keep the platform as lightweight, straight-forward, and obvious as possible. Designed by sourcing consultants, they wanted a no-fuss, no muss, no training required platform that was comfortable to people familiar with Microsoft Office and Microsoft Project. They studied the process, did their research, and decided to build the 80% solution which would include everything you need and everything you would want 80% of the time. Rarely used, complex features that only cluttered the screen or confused the average user were purposely not included. As a result it’s smooth, slick, and surprisingly effective in their target market.

RFX allows you to create the RFI, RFP, or RFQ you need on a section-by-section basis, from scratch or from a template, define scoring, customize supplier views, add attachments, collectively score responses as a group, view supplier attachments, re-calculate scores based on alternate weightings, generate supplier scorecards, and view a number of different response and/or scoring based reports. As with your standard RFX, each section and question can be weighted independently, and it will even generate the weights dynamically if you would rather define priorities than try to insure that all of the weights add up to 100. You can define auto-scoring rules for questions based on predefined response selections, score manually, or score based upon the weighted average score assigned by the RFX team. You can also use formulas. With respect to RFQs, it has a number of built-in features to make bid collection and validation simple. You can define pricing formats, which can be based on custom formulas, bid validation rules, and bid tables for complex bids that involve multiple plants, currencies, or volume breaks. You can then view the bids using a number of built in reports and formats that let you see just what you need to see the way you want to see it. With all of your standard capabilities, it gets the job done.

In addition, RFXs can be multi-round and you can create custom feedback reports that each supplier can view between rounds which can let the supplier know their rank, quartile, and variance range with respect to each item or lot. And everything can be exported to and imported from Excel. Auction is built on top of RFX and includes the ability to define custom baskets (lots), sessions (for each basket), and settings (time limits, time extension rules, stopping rules, etc.). You can also configure what the supplier sees or doesn’t see. Reporting can be table based or graphical.

Project Management includes the ability to define projects — which include suppliers, users, RFX’s and/or Auctions; message with users and suppliers — through integrated message boxes and e-mails; and define notifications in addition to standard project management features — such as timelines, state tracking, and document management. And the platform includes all of your standard RFI (comparison and scorecards), administrative (suppliers, users, statutes, etc.), and bid analysis (baseline spend, pricing summary, item level comparisons, round comparisons, etc.) reports and most of the reports allow filtering on any entity row or column.

And even though they are primarily serving the US market at this point, they are expanding into Europe, currently support 4 languages, are almost finished translating languages 5 and 6, and will support 10 languages in the near future (including Unicode languages). They are also in the process of updating and streamlining the UI to keep it as simple and easy to use as possible (and beginning R&D on a brand new module).

In summary, there’s nothing you haven’t read about before on SI, except the price tag. I’ve only demoed one other solution in the last year with the same breadth of capability in a self-service SaaS model that starts in their quoted price range. And while it might not have the same depth as many other solutions, or include more advanced sourcing modules, for many mid-sized companies just starting on their sourcing journey (and many more without complex categories), it will meet their needs.

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