Monthly Archives: March 2013

If You Don’t Have Earthquake or Hurricane Insurance for Your Supply Chain

Get it now!

This recent graphic from Swiss Re that charts the amount of insured losses per year since 1970 clearly demonstrates that the bulk of losses were due to weather-related causes or earthquakes, with the biggest losses directly attributable to earthquakes and hurricanes. In the last forty-two years, only one year had significant losses not due to an earthquake or a weather related phenomenon, and that was the year of the September 11th attacks. Except for these attacks, losses from mad-mad disasters never exceeded 10 Billion, even in years where losses exceeded 120 Billion. So while it’s a good idea to have the standard insurance suite of fire, theft, and liability — where your supply chain is concerned, a natural (weather-related) disaster is going to be MUCH more costly.

The Cost of Catastrophes

Rawhide!

Happy 100th, Frankie Laine.
Even though you’re gone, we’ll keep those (beef) supply chains moving, whatever it takes.

Lyrics (Sing along!)

Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’
Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’
Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’
Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’
Rawhide!

Keep rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
Though the streams are swollen
Keep them dogies rollin’
Rawhide!
Rain and wind and weather
Hell-bent for leather
Wishin’ my gal was by my side.
All the things I’m missin’,
Good vittles, love, and kissin’,
Are waiting at the end of my ride

Move ‘em on, head ‘em up,
Head ‘em up, move ‘em on,
Move ‘em on, head ‘em up
Rawhide!
Head ‘em out, ride ‘em in
Ride ‘em in, cut ‘em out,
Cut ‘em out, ride ‘em in
Rawhide.

Keep movin’, movin’, movin’,
Though they’re disapprovin’,
Keep them doggies movin’
Rawhide!
Don’t try to understand ‘em,
Just rope and throw and brand ‘em,
Soon we’ll be living high and wide.
My heart’s calculatin’
My true love will be waitin’,
be waiting at the end of my ride.

Move ‘em on, head ‘em up,
Head ‘em up, move ‘em on,
Move ‘em on, head ‘em up
Rawhide!
Cut ‘em out, ride ‘em in
Ride ‘em in, cut ‘em out,
Cut ‘em out, ride ‘em in
Rawhide.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
Rawhide!

Rawhide!

Lavante Connect – Streamlined Supplier Self Management

Lavante, a provider of Supplier Information Management (SIM) and SIM-based Recovery, has just released a new version of Lavante Connect, their supplier self-management solution.

Lavante Connect is one of the more powerful, and more streamlined, supplier information self-management solutions on the market. In the Lavante Connect solution, the supplier is walked-through the 3 to 5-step process of completing their profile and is updated with respect to their progress, and percentage of work remaining, after each step. In the Lavante system, the supplier goes through the following easy to follow process:

  1. Company Profile
  2. Legal Identification
  3. Certifications
  4. Payment Information (may be optional)
  5. Specific Information (may be optional)

Profile information walks the supplier through the definition of headquarters information, address information (notices, payment, warehouse, etc.), references, ownership, diversity, business structure, and contacts.

Legal ID walks the supplier through entry of business numbers, tax numbers, and other government identification in the countries that the supplier operates in. It also makes sure that the supplier uploads the appropriate documentation required by the customer, such as W9s in the US.

Certifications walks the supplier through the insurance and certification requirements of the customer and makes sure that the supplier specifies all of the relevant information and uploads the appropriate documents.

Payment walks the supplier through the specification of the payment types they accept (pCard, check, EFT, wire, etc.) and the specifications for each payment type.

Specific Information, of which there can be more than one tab, walks the supplier through the specific information requests unique to the client, such as required product and service information, sustainability information, etc. and the documentation that needs to be supplied.

The ease of use comes not only in the easy to follow registration, and profile completion process, but the fact that the system:

  • validates everything that can be validated,
  • eliminates duplication of data entry whenever possible, and
  • forces e-signatures and verification for all legal documents.

Not only does the system validate that all data entered is in a valid format, but it integrates with as many third party systems as possible to verify that the entered data is correct. Business numbers and tax numbers are automatically verified against government databases, address information is validated against address databases, bank and p-card information is verified through penny-transactions, etc. The system makes it hard for a supplier to make a mistake and harder for any errors to persist for more than a few days. It also alerts the supplier as soon as certifications or registrations are about to expire or information has to be re-verified (according to the customer’s schedule, where such customer may require re-verification of contact information every six months).

All address, contact, and similar data is automatically indexed and can be mapped to any other information requirement that makes sense. So, if headquarters also happens to be the payment and legal notice address, it only has to be entered once. Same for contact information.

For the most part, SIM isn’t complex, and neither are supplier portals, but few master the usability and simplicity required to onboard even the technology unsophisticated supplier quickly and easily with complete profiles, no errors in critical information, and fresh profile data. Lavante Connect is in this group.

Seeking Spherical Supply Solutions? Succeed in the EU! Part III

In our last two posts we outlined five major reasons you should be looking at European Supply Management Solution Providers if you are a global multi-national that is buying from and selling to multiple countries. Briefly, they were:

  • EU solution providers are already multi-lingual!
  • EU solution providers understand the importance of locality.
  • EU solution providers understand that customer priorities differ by locality.
  • EU solution providers realize that, one way or the other, you have to be in Asia.
  • Including EU solution providers in the mix reduces the chance that you will need two solutions.

If the EU provider, understanding the importance of locality, has opened a US office and staffed it with local staff, why shouldn’t they be in the mix. After all, if they also have:

  • the functionality to meet your requirements,
  • successful implementations (verified with references) in the countries you have targeted, and
  • a proper localization of their software for the US market

they could be perfect for you. And when you get down to it, a number of you are probably storing your data in an ERP solution that came from Germany!

It’s no longer the case that, as it was as recently as a few years ago, a multi-national has to use a US-founded solution provider in the US and a European-founded solution provider in the EU (and maybe even the rest of the world). There are now choices in both markets that serve the globe, with companies like BravoSolution, Hubwoo, and Wallmedien being examples on the European side.

SI isn’t saying that a European provider will be the right choice for you, as there are big name US providers that have successfully gone global, including recently acquired Ariba and Emptoris, and some up-and-comers like Coupa and Iasta have added multi-lingual and localization support since their early days and are exceptional solutions for the markets they are being deployed in. What SI is saying is that you cannot strike these EU providers off the list until you have seriously reviewed them. I have seen situations where no US provider has fit the bill, and expect that this reality will continue at least until a few US providers rise to the level of Ariba and Emptoris, if not for the next decade. The only way to guarantee that you are going to get the best solution for your business is if you invite all the top players to the table, regardless of where they came from.

Seeking Spherical Supply Solutions? Succeed in the EU! Part II

Alliteration aside, the reality is that if you are looking for a modern sourcing or procurement solution, not only should you not exclude the EU, if you truly want to go global, and install global, you should probably focus in on the EU solution providers before making any decision. In today’s post we continue an explanation of why.

They understand that customer priorities differ by locality.

While this could have been included in the last point, it merits its own point because priorities do differ substantially between NA and the EU. While many North American companies will often trade functionality for usability — which is why there are so many flashy solutions out there across the spectrum of business solutions that are almost void of advanced functionality where optimization and analytics are concerned, the same is not true of the EU solution providers that, after the doctor‘s heart, favour functionality over form. That’s why many of the EU (import) solutions have deeper, and broader functionality but UIs that look like they were designed five to ten years ago. (Fortunately, with customer help, this is an easy fix. It’s easy to put a new paint job on a faded corvette. It’s much harder to turn an oldsmobile into a corvette.)

One way or the other, you have to be in Asia.

If you’re a global multi-national, you’re either buying from, or selling, to Asia — if not both! Most of the EU Supply Management companies have a larger footprint in Asia than most of their counterparts in the US. The EU, close to Asia, has not only been doing business with Asia for just as long as North America, but due to their ability to support multiple languages, and locales, from day one, had an easier job moving into Asia.

It reduces the chance that you will need two solutions.

While you want Best of Breed, the last thing you want is multiple best of breed solution providers if you can get away with one. Adding the EU providers to the list increases your chances that you can find a solution provider that will meet all of your needs.

In other words, you have at least five very important reasons to be seriously considering EU solution providers. Tune in tomorrow when we’ll summarize the situation.