… don’t look to them as a foundation for supplier collaboration! While it’s nice to see Procurement platforms and technologies getting noticed in Financial publications, the juxtapostion of the headline and subheading on this recent Financial Express article made us go “OI! YOY! YOI!”.
The headline was great:
Integration of B2B marketplaces into supply chain networks for increased efficiency
… it’s exactly what Finance needs to hear as B2B Marketplaces are a great solution for commodities or products typically bought spot-buy on the open market, and much more efficient than sending out an RFP for something you can find and buy quicker, easier, and cheaper online, and definitely better than searching half a dozen supplier sites to find the right product at the right price.
And the subheading started off great:
A notable opportunity for enhancing Supply Chain Management (SCM), as rated by 53% of businesses, lies in collaborative efforts with suppliers.
… because collaborative efforts are not only a great way to increase efficiency, but also increase value by lowering cost, increasing quality, adding capability, etc.
But the way the sub-header ended was head-scratching to say the least:
… The answer lies in utilizing user-friendly and efficient B2B marketplaces.
NO! No, No, No, NO! If you want to collaborate with suppliers, you need a modern Supplier Management solution that focuses on supplier development, innovation, and collaboration.
B2B Marketplaces were created to help buyers find (new) suppliers to buy from and to help suppliers widen their potential customer base when buyers find their products in a search and check them out. They were not setup for collaboration and the extent of “collaboration” on the majority of these platforms is asynchronous messaging. That’s not collaboration! Not even close.
In comparison, a Supplier Management platform with
- Relationship Management will not only support asynchronous messaging, it will also support collaborative project/product plans and a best practice/knowledge base for both parties
- True Network Management and not just an integrated online marketplace will also support a true bi-directional graph, bi-directional search, classification, and anonymous (peer)
- Proper Discovery will not only support simple searches, but deep location, product, capability, and multi-factor searches; proactive web-search and web-site monitoring; anonymized ratings and reviews; and deep product sheets and history management
- Orchestration Management will support multi-tier linkages, cascading onboarding, and multi-tier supplier support so that you can quickly and easily onboard the supplier onto your own personal Supplier Management instance that you can customize to your liking
- Enablement Management will add an integrated supply-centric portal, sustainability guidance, and true supplier-led innovation support
In other words, this article, which could have focussed on the core value of B2B Marketplaces and introduced them as a first step into the Procurement world, with an entire suite of valuable tools to help an organization, missed the mark.
For more information on what a proper Supplier Management platform should do, as well as a list of vendors who offer these platforms, see parts 15 to 20 of our The 39 Steps … err … The 39 Clues … err … The 39 Part Series to Help You Figure Out Where to Start with Source-to-Pay.
Part 16: Supplier Management A-Side
Part 17: Supplier Management B-Side
Part 18: Supplier Management C-Side
Part 19: Supplier Management D-Side