Pool4Tool: Bringing The Direct Procurement Platform — And Message — To the Masses! Part III

In Part I, we began our discussion of the Pool4Tool platform by focussing on its Sourcing capability. Then, in Part II, we discussed their Procurement and SRM capabilities, and specifically, the catalog management capability, procurement requisitions, service management, the SRM portal, and the overall procurement workflow capability. In this third and final installment of our initial 3-part series on Pool4Tool, we are going to discuss the supply chain management capabilities, which is where many of the capabilities not found in traditional source-to-pay (or procure-to-pay) platforms designed with indirect in mind fall short for direct materials management.

The Pool4Tool platform contains a number of unique supply chain management capabilities, including deep ERP integration, document approval, VMI, automated order dispatch and order acknowledgement, Kanban, and quality control.

Let’s start with ERP integration. Pool4Tool supports extremely deep ERP integration and the integration to SAP is so strong, and the interfaces so useable, that it’s actually deeper than Ariba and more useable by its clients for SCM than SAP’s own interfaces in some cases.

It’s EDI integration with third party content is extensive as well. Third party feeds that have already been integrated include, but are not limited to, D&B, Ecovadis, and about a dozen other providers. This data can be viewed side by side with all internal system and supplier data to provide a true 360 degree view of a supplier that extends beyond the enterprise to the market as a whole.

One of the true strengths of the platform is the integrated VMI capability. Not only does the portal allow a supplier to self manage all of their data, see all of their purchase orders, get real-time visibility into their invoice status, and collaborate with the buyer, but it allows the supplier to manage inventory levels on behalf of the buyer. The supplier can keep track of stock levels in real time, manage deliveries to make sure stock levels do not fall below minimums or exceed maximums, and insure the buyer can run their operations smoothly at all times. This can take MRO to a new level and allow both parties to be more efficient.

And, last but not least, the bill of material support and integrated lifecycle costing with integrated budget management extends into supply chain management capabilities as well. The cost of a product is more than just the production cost, or acquisition cost, or sales cost — it’s the cost of distribution, the cost of maintenance, the cost of return, and the cost of raw material reclamation. The lifecycle cost can be many times more than what it costs to make a product, and the POOL4TOOL platform not only contains models to accurately compute that cost, but also to manage the acquisition, distribution, and support against a budget and track the costs across the lifecycle.

In other words, the capabilities of the Pool4Tool platform, while only briefly discussed in this series, go well beyond the average Source to Pay platform designed with indirect in mind and is, thus, a platform that should definitely be evaluated by any sourcing organization that does a lot of direct (material) sourcing.

For more information on why indirect platforms cannot support complex direct sourcing needs, see Sourcing Innovation’s recent white paper on The Direct Procurement Challenge. For more information on complex direct sourcing needs and the importance of efficiency and effectiveness in general, see the doctor‘s recent paper on The Procurement Value Engine, co-authored with the procurement dynamo. And check out the Pool4Tool platform.

For a deeper dive into Pool4Tool and their platform, see the recent 3-part series over on Spend Matters Pro [membership required] that does a very deep analysis of Pool4Tool and their capabilities. (Part I, Part II, and Part III.)