Close the Supplier Loop with LUPR

Suppliers are key to sourcing and procurement success because you depend on your suppliers for the products you sell, the services you provide, and the materials you need for your daily operations. Thus, Supplier Management is key to sourcing and procurement success, but most companies don’t even have up to date information on their suppliers.

In order to achieve the value you expect from your suppliers, you need to

  • properly onboard and vet them
  • manage their information
  • monitor their performance
  • record related issues
  • manage the relationship
  • store contracts
  • track the savings goals
  • track the realized savings
  • and so on

And, more importantly, your supplier account managers need to work with the supplier representatives in each of these tasks, which need to be streamlined for both parties.

The founders of LUPR, each with two decades (plus) of Procurement project experience, realized this and created a supplier management platform that could tackle these issues, and it did so on top of Salesforce, which makes it an easy buy for any organization already using Salesforce as the platform has already been vetted by IT, Risk, Sales, and Finance. It also makes it easy for staff to learn the platform, as they are already used to the basics of Salesforce, and they have staff who can help out.

Before we get into the specifics (modules) of the solution, one thing to note is that because it’s built on Salesforce, it has:

  • high levels of configurability
  • security down to the field level in an object (record)
  • automation
  • familiar reporting and analytics capability
  • easy integration with other Salesforce AppExchange apps

The platform has the following primary modules:

  • supplier registration portal (for self-serve onboarding)
  • supplier information management module
  • risk assessment module
  • issue reporting and performance tracking
  • supplier corrective action resolution (SCAR) control
  • savings tracking and pipeline management
  • reporting and analytics

Supplier Registration Portal
The supplier portal is a very user-friendly web-based portal where a supplier can go and register itself as wanting to do business with the buying organization as well as provide all of the information requested by the buying organization. When it comes to onboarding, it should be noted that the only available out-of-the-box integrations (subscriptions required) for supplier validation are Experian, CreditSafe, Equifax and RapidRatings for business identifiers, financial information, and/or credit scores. Additional, custom, integrations are possible, but if you have other validation data being pulled into your ERP (such as SAP and Oracle which they integrate with), you can pull the validated data in from your ERP rather than collecting it from a supplier (and having to validate it manually).

Supplier Information Management
Upon login, the user is taken to their dashboard, which can be custom configured, and usually overviews their approved supplier list (by product and service), their top supplier spend (by supplier), outstanding tasks (including approvals for onboarding, information updates, etc.), suppliers by relationship tiers (as it supports multiple tiers, which can be custom configured, but are defaulted to critical, strategic, transactional, and leverage, which matches many consulting 2*2 breakdowns), today’s events, NCRs by type, NCR and KPI trends, etc.

Supplier profiles are typical of what you would expect and you can define and track all standard corporate data (including registration numbers), contacts, banking information, risk scores (through an API or collected from surveys), ESG data (from AppExchange partners, including Ecovadis and CSRHub, or pulled in from surveys), and spend (with an ERP or P2P integration). You can also store certificates and track associated metadata, see the supplier’s Z-score, its KPI scores (and drill into scorecards), see any associated nonconformance occurrences, open activities, surveys, and create supplier level initiatives (around overall savings targets, organizational alignment, performance measurements, etc.).

Products and Services
One unique capability of the LUPR platform is that they support extensive product and service definitions, which are associated with the corresponding suppliers, as well as the corresponding organizational standard product or service, and you can drill into each individual supplier product/service from both the supplier profile and the standard product/service, which can be organized by category (or category hierarchy with additional system hierarchy). It’s also easy to search for products and services by keywords (and then filter into particular categories or suppliers if desired).

The built-in out-of-the-box support is very extensive, and allows buyers to analyze total spend, define organizational needs, analyze markets, engage stakeholders, create strategies, and manage performance by product as well as manage performance by suppliers (discussed below). The assessments can be quite deep and look at the business aspect, supply market flexibility, savings estimation, and ease & speed of implementation. Furthermore, any relevant stakeholders can be engaged in the analysis as needed.

Issue Reporting and Performance Tracking / KPI Scorecards
Performance tracking in the platform revolves around KPI scorecards which can be very extensive, depending on how much data the organization tracks and integrates into the platform. The platform comes with a number of scorecard templates (and a large number of pre-defined measures in the KPI library), but LUPR can build custom scorecards to evaluate a supplier on any dimensions that are relevant to your business. (Also, all of the templates can be updated as you see fit, measures added and removed and weights updated to suit organizational preferences.) (They’ve done quite a few over the years and can implement extensive, custom scorecards relatively quickly.) Contract compliance, (On Time) Delivery, Quality, ESG, realized savings, etc. can all be tracked (by default) at the supplier level if the data is available, and you can get KPI scorecards by supplier, category, supplier-category, or a subset of the supply base (restricted to a region).

Nonconformance / Supplier Corrective Action Resolution
The system comes with built in templates to capture nonconformances (related to contracts, delivery, quality, invoices, etc.) that can be filled out by any system user and then turned into a supplier corrective action workflow by a supplier (account) manager that will accept and complete the information, share the nonconformance report with the supplier through the supplier community, get additional information back, propose a corrective action, capture supplier acceptance (or rejection, and then restart the process), track progress, and when the issue is resolved, close it out. LUPR has a detailed dashboard to help the Procurement team track nonconformances for fast resolution.

Savings Tracking and Initiative/Pipeline Management
The entry point is the initiative dashboard which is a Kanban type project management dashboard that summarizes projects in each stage (idea, evaluation, validation, execution, finalization, and realization) as well as the total dollar value of all projects in each stage. If the user prefers, she can flip to a tabular view that can be filtered by stage, owner, spend category, SOP category, and other relevant dimensions. Upon drilling into an active initiative, the user can see all of the associated data as well as what has been realized to date in the realization phase.

A new initiative can be created by simply defining a small amount of project data (name, owner, bracketing dates, business unit, etc.), the spend category, and one or more actions that will need to be performed. Actions just need a name, type, associated category, and one or more suppliers or products you are tracking the action against, each of which is associated with a start date, end date, tracking frequency (one time, monthly, quarterly, etc.), and accounting categorization (capex, opex, etc.).

Reporting and Analytics
Most reporting in the system is summarized in dashboards (from which you can drill into the individual reports behind the widget).

Provided the system is integrated with your ERP or spend analysis system, or someone enters the monthly spend or (data necessary to calculate the) savings realized against each initiative, one of the key reports is the savings dashboard that summarizes the initiatives, total anticipated savings, savings targets for the year, target run rate savings by month, targets by owner, targets by status, targets vs actioned, and so on to allow a supplier and/or category manager to get a firm grip on how initiatives are going, where they may not be going as well as projected, and where supplier management may be needed.

Another key report is the category dashboard which tracks on-time delivery, NCRs not resolved within 30 days (or the number of days defined by the organization), average NCR resolution time (by supplier) invoicing errors, spend, identified savings by quarter, and other key metrics filterable by category.

LUPR comes with out-of-the-box reports and dashboards which can be further configured for you upon implementation, or you can build your own.

The system also maintains complete, unalterable, audit trails on every data element in the system which can be queried and reported upon at any time in the reporting module.

Global Search & Chatter
It’s worth pointing out that the platform also supports global search, and will show all results by type (supplier, product/service, projects, reports, dashboards, events, etc.).

It also has built in slack-like communication where the user can communicate with other users, supplier users, or custom groups of users.

As the platform is built on Salesforce, everything can be customized, and, most importantly, users can be given access rights down to an individual data element if needed. Most of the administration takes place in the object-manager, which allows the user to select any LUPR system object for customization, as appropriate. Within an object, the user can edit the data elements, the allowed value ranges, the display criteria and layout, the access rights, etc.

So if you’re on the market for a Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) solution, and especially if you are a mid-size organization looking for an SRM solution, that’s quick to buy, quicker still to implement (if you already have Salesforce), and a great complement to a modern Sourcing and Procurement solution (as their API can be used to build integrations that pull data in from your ERP/AP [and they already have integrations with SAP and Oracle] and push up-to-date supplier data to your sourcing platform), LUPR is a platform you should check out. As with the new generation of solutions aimed primarily at SME organizations, it starts at a very affordable price point and as it was designed by Procurement consultants with over two decades of experience, you know they will help you configure it to support the supplier management projects and reporting your organization needs.