SourceDogg dogs the Sourcing Process so You Don’t Have To!

SourceDogg was founded over a decade ago (in 2009 in Ireland, with the UK subsidiary opening a decade ago in 2013) by founders from the construction industry who decided they just didn’t have any good tools for sourcing products and managing suppliers. Since then, it has evolved into a full indirect Source-to-Contract application for requesting (intake support) and sourcing products (and services) (through traditional RFX and e-Auction), managing suppliers (with information, relationship, compliance, performance, and development support), and managing contracts for customers across a wide range of industries, including a strong customer base in manufacturing, pharma / health-care, and CPG/F&B.

Like the majority of modern Source-to-Contract applications, it is a fully SaaS-based product that can also be integrated with your organization’s ERP to pull supplier and product data, especially on initial product deployment. And, like the majority of modern Source-to-Contract applications, it has a fully functional Supplier Portal that allows suppliers to fully interact with all of the sourcing, management, and contracting processes employed by the organization.

The process starts with intake, where an organizational user can request a product or request a supplier. When a user needs a new product, they can go to the web portal and select the appropriate option (by clicking on the appropriate tile) that lets them do a general product request or a request in particular categories defined by the organization. When they make a general request, the application walks them through the process (using wizard-like functionality) to collect the appropriate information on category, volume, expected cost, requirements, etc. so that a buyer can kick off the appropriate sourcing process. Category specific requests function similarly, but are designed to minimize the process steps and information required for commonly requested categories. Now, if you’re using our core requirements for intake, as defined in Part 37 of our Source-to-Pay+ series Investigating Intake – Diving in to the Details, it’s not quite a full intake platform as there’s no budget tracking and process visibility (and in-process messaging depends on whether or not the requester is made a member of the sourcing event team), but it’s better than what many traditional sourcing platforms offer with respect to intake (if they even offer intake at all). Plus, SourceDogg is continually improving their product and we do expect their intake capabilities will continue to improve over time.

From intake, we move onto sourcing which supports full, multi-round, e-RFX and e-Auction with all of the typical functionality that you expect. One thing that stands out is their ability to include matrices (and built-in formulas) in not only the quotation fields, but all forms and elements of the process, allowing the organization to collect matrix options for product/packaging configurations, team configurations (on services), compliance/certification options, and so on.

As expected, setting up an event in SourceDogg is super easy. You define the typical sourcing event meta data (name, description, products, team, internal budget estimates, scoring system, etc.), create the content (forms and bid matrices), invite the suppliers (who need to already be defined/onboard in the core supplier management module), create the FAQ (which can be extended as needed during the process), and release it into the wild. (Suppliers can then login to their portal upon receiving the notification and fill it out within the designated window. If the bid sheets or data collection forms are complex, they can be output or collected using every Purchaser’s favourite tool and format, Microsoft Excel.) When the event concludes, the responses can be viewed, various side-by-side reports generated (and output to multiple standard formats including DOCX, PDF, and, of course, Microsoft Excel), responses scored, and final decision(s) recorded in the tool (and an email auto-generated and sent to the winning supplier[s] if desired). There is also the ability to capture notes at a question level (by individual who reviewed/scored the response), the supplier level, and the project level.

e-Auctions are setup similarly, and, as expected, run for a much shorter time. The degree of feedback presented to the suppliers depends on the configuration. Upon event completion, the platform automatically generates reports ranking the bidders on cost or, if the event was preceded by an RFI/RFP with a qualitative component, on a weighted score. (And, of course, the buyer can always go in and view the complete bid history.) Note that the Q&A feature can be used to post updates during the auction to all suppliers, a supplier group associated with a lot, or just a specific supplier who asked a question or obviously needs guidance.

Supplier Management consists of four primary modules: Supplier (Information) Management (SIM), Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), Supplier Performance Management (SPM), and Action Plans.

Let’s start with Supplier (Information) Management. The system tracks all the core supplier meta-data you would expect as well as all associated contacts, product data sheets, RFX and other data from specific collection effort (from SRM, SPM, or Development Actions) responses, certifications, contracts (including full version history support), other relevant documents (the organization wishes to track), and any critical notes. It also maintains a full-history of interaction with the supplier that can be viewed and queried as well as allowing the supplier to be tagged using category and location tags (that can be defined by both the buyer and supplier.

The Supplier Relationship Management module allows the organization to define supplier reviews, track the results of those reviews, and define actions to be completed by the supplier and followed up on by buyer personnel when the supplier indicates the action has been taken. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done efficiently, and that’s what’s important.

The Supplier Performance Management module allows the organization to design and track KPIs and supplier scorecards in support of processes to measure, analyze and manage supplier performance. The scorecards can be simple or complex across a wide range of metrics and categories. It really depends on what data the organization has and is willing to collect (through surveys) or enter into the application. (At present, it does not integrate with risk/etc. data feeds out of the box, but if these feeds are pushed into your ERP and associated with suppliers and products, that data can be pulled in.) Creating a Performance Review is easy. Once simply creates an instance, and a record for every area, sub-area, and rating that one wants to record. The review can then be sent to as many team members as you want and they can be limited to rating specific areas, sub-areas, or records, as appropriate.

The Action Plans module allows for the creation of specific improvement plans and non-conformance reports for a supplier that needs to improve generally or specifically on one product. The Action Plan modules supports multiple default plans (called forms) that can be used to quickly an initiate a new action plan. The forms can be used as is or modified to the appropriate situation, and the monitoring team can include as many organizational personnel as required. Once a supplier responds, the team can then accept or reject the response, and once all responses have been accepted, the response can be approved and archived. If performance slips or the issue comes up again, an action plan can also be “reactivated” and parts, or all, of the plan kicked-off again.

Layered on top of all of the supplier related modules is a supplier visualization dashboard for non-procurement organizational users and executives that make it really easy to get statistics on organizational suppliers (total, approved, by-size [SME, MM, Large], by type [Product, Services, Subcontractor]) and filter down by category & sub-category, status, and other key identifiers as well as see the (subset of) suppliers on a map. From this primary visualization screen, the user can jump into individual supplier records (with key performance dashboards also displayed)

The contracts module, which revolves around contract governance, is very straight-forward and easy to use as well. Contracts can be grouped by area for easy human location, searched on key metadata and tags, and viewed within the tool. The default meta data is fairly extensive (and can be extended by the organization on implementation) and should capture all of the key information necessary to locate a contract, track expiry, track key terms, and track key clauses. While there’s nothing fancy about the contracts module, we want to re-iterate just how straight-forward it is for an average user to add a contract (addendum or updated version), define or edit the metadata, and locate any contract in the system quickly and easily. Some of the more advanced CLM tools focussed around negotiation support or analytics lose sight of the fact that the average person who needs to retrieve a contract is not a Procurement or Legal or Technology super user and just need a system that follows the KISS principle.

The entire suite also contains a fully modifiable tile-based entry dashboard that allows an average user to define the parts of the application they use, as well as any customized intake forms or application modules, organize them by frequency of access, and see which modules have updated information or new actions assigned to them.

This fully modifiable tile-based entry dashboard with alerts is also the first thing a supplier sees when they login to the platform (and, to complete the tri-fecta, a non-Procurement organizational stakeholder who needs to make a Procurement request, review an RFX, or participate in a supplier development initiative). While simplistic, this is a key feature as you can ensure that supplier or organizational users are not overwhelmed with over-crowded dashboards or 40 menu items they will never use (and likely never understand).

The application is also highly configurable by the client admin who can define the organizational profile and branding, the settings, the certifications it requires from all its suppliers, data-sheet categories, security settings, users and user categories, guides (which can also have an access tile on a main dashboard), default fields for core system objects (requisitions, auctions, supplier profiles, contracts, action plan forms, etc.), supplier onboarding workflow, tags and tag groups, SourceDogg Connect (for ERP and/or organizational data feed pulls), etc. Plus, the SourceDogg team can make additional customizations across the product during implementation and support initial data loads as required.

Finally, they have extensive support guides and courses on their customer web site to help you extract maximum value from the platform. (And those constant iOS/Android action required alerts will dog you through the process of getting things done.) If you’re a SME or MM company looking for a modern best-of-breed S2C (Source-to-Contract) suite (especially in construction/facilities, manufacturing, pharma / health, O&G, CPG, and F&B) to get the job done, SourceDogg is a platform we suggest that you check out.