Daily Archives: June 30, 2010

Great Tips for Supplier Performance Management

A recent article from ChainLink Research noted how never before have companies been so dependent on the performance of their suppliers as a result of today’s companies becoming so lean, fast, and outsourced that monitoring and responding quickly to deal with and continually improve suppliers’ performance has become a key determinant of success or failure. This article on Supplier Performance Management had a number of great tips for managing supplier performance, including the following:

  • Automatic Initiation of Corrective Action Workflows

    Not only must metrics be tracked rigorously, but they must be fed into monitoring systems that immediately notify the responsible individuals and start a corrective action workflow as soon as an issue is detected or a downward trend is identified. Hiccups must be addressed before they balloon into major supply disruptions, not after.

  • Reverse Rating

    Just thinking you’re a great customer doesn’t make it so. You might think that your performance exceeds the performance you expect from your supplier, but it might be the case that nothing could be further from the truth. The delivery might be late because your people kept the driver waiting for two hours while they prepared to accept the delivery. The shipment might be late because you only gave two days notice of significantly increase demand and not the two weeks you agreed to in the contract. Sometimes your processes are just not best practice … and sometimes your supplier knows ways you can improve them. Etc. Take your medicine and your overall supply chain health will improve.

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Rolling Up Resolutions with RollStream

In our last post, we talked about Rollstream‘s new workspace capability and how you could steamroll your compliance problems into submission. We also mentioned how Rollstream was in the finishing phases of a new dispute management and resolution solution, as part if it’s overall supplier development and performance management solution.

While the problem may sound simple, and while the solution isn’t all that complicated compared to other supplier management solutions, for a large Multi-Billion dollar company, the administrative costs alone to resolve disputes can exceed millions of dollar a year. (One of their beta customers, an 8 Billion dollar company, estimated that just their administrative costs were over 2 Million annually!) Add to this the costs associated with having to dispose of damaged inventory and the losses from overpayments if a loss is not appropriately tracked and billed back to the supplier, and disputes can cost a large company over 10 Million a year!

That’s a lot of money at risk, especially when a properly designed supplier management solution can easily identify, track, and streamline the resolution process and see the average dispute resolved quickly and easily. Plus, it helps the supplier. In the US, more than 61% of receivables remain open for over 50 days (and it’s worse in Europe). Considering that this type of solution can reduce the average resolution time from weeks to days in your average large company (as there’s no paperwork to lose and everyone gets promptly notified — through the system and e-mail — when they have to respond to a dispute or take an action), a supplier could see considerably more invoices paid on time.

While its primarily being used to resolve shipping disputes (overages, shortages, and damages) by the beta testers, it was designed to allow the community to track and resolve any kind of dispute, including cost, pricing, transportation, invoices, rebates, and contracts — and since it recognizes POs, invoices, and contracts (and their IDs), it can be used in conjunction with the full sourcing and procurement process.

The solution is fully integrated into the Rollstream platform and easily accessed from both the community (supplier) portal and the users you authorize to use the application. When the user logs in, they see all of the issues associated with them as well as their current status (pending, open, waiting on, [recently] closed, etc.) and can filter based on status, supplier, organization, creator, date, etc., or any other active field associated with an issue. The application is fully configurable and, in addition to the pre-defined standard fields (which can be renamed or removed), the user can define any text, date, numeric, or selection field they would like to track. In addition, if a number of disputes are related to the same shipment, purchase order, invoice, etc., there is also a bulk update capability that can be used to address them all at the same time. In addition, there’s an easy to use import and export function. You can import issues from a standard CSV file and export to excel. The import is well thought out and will automatically map input columns to application fields through a matching algorithm, which can be overridden by the buyer as needed. Finally, the dashboard reporting, which by default displays number of incidents by status, number of incidents by type, and average days to resolution, can be configured to track and report on metrics of interst to the buyer. Finally, when an issue is resolved, the application can be configured to track the relevant information related to reconciliation.

Considering the price tag for this solution starts in the five-figure range, and the manpower savings alone could be seven figures (as you’ll free up more resources to address other, more strategic, parts of the procurement and sourcing process), dispute resolution is definitely a solution that should be considered as part of your supply chain management platform — especially if you’re already using the Rollstream solution.

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