Category Archives: Compliance

HICX Solutions Wants To Buy You A Shiny New Pair of Shoes! Part III

In Part II of this series we not only noted that HICX, which stands for Harmonize, Integrate, Control, and eXchange, is a relatively new SIM offering on the market (even though it has been in development since 2004), addresses the classic SIM sweet-spots, but also hits a few new ones. Not only does it include on-boarding and an integrated supplier portal like classic SIM, and more than adequately address Performance and Compliance Management — mainstays of current SIM platforms, but also goes beyond to offer a complete Master Data Management (MDM) solution for your Supply Management operation.

But that isn’t the only trick it offers. As hinted at in Part I, it not only allows a user to define, and redefine, data models as necessary but define, and redefine, workflows as necessary to allow an organization to not only accommodate new product demands but adapt to new technologies and new business requirements as they arise. These new tricks are not to be underestimated. While a number of platforms allow you to extend and augment the data model, most do not allow the data model to be extended after the fact, and those that do require all existing elements to have the new property defined, or at least defaulted (to a default or a value that represents a not-yet-defined value).

In contrast, the HICX platform allows the data model for any element to be updated at any time by any user with authority, and since the HICX platform supports versioning with all data elements of the data model, no existing elements are impacted or need to be updated since the data (element) model is loaded with each data element and each data element is validated against the (element) model it was created with. (Once the data element is loaded, the user can add any additional elements required to update the associated data model, if desired.)

But that’s not the best trick that the HICX platform has to offer. The best trick is that the platform allows the workflow to be updated at any time by any user with the authority to do so, even if the workflow is being used in an initiative currently in progress — such as an on-boarding, compliance, or performance improvement initiative. This is because the platform not only versions data models, but workflows that drive the product and initiatives. If, during an event, the event administrator notices that that the workflow is causing problems for the suppliers and can be simplified, or notices that the information being collected is not what was expected, the administrator can simplify the workflow or add additional, mandatory, data requests. Suppliers who have already started the workflow will be able to finish the current workflow, and can then be sent a request for additional information by the administrator (who can limit the request to suppliers on the older version of the workflow) but suppliers who did not begin the initiative before the update will start on the new workflow.

But the real power of the workflow management capability is the ability to change registration, data collection, and performance measurement workflows (and associated data element models) when suppliers change, products change, and evaluation methods change. Traditional SIM platforms decline in usage because they can’t keep up with changing business requirements and user needs. But with the ability to update workflows to match the business needs at any time, using an integrated visual workflow designer, the HICX platform insures that SIM is always relevant and current. It’s the new trick that most SIM platforms have been missing.

Other tricks include:

  • Dynamic Dashboards

    like any good SIM product, the HICX platform supports user dashboards, but doesn’t stop at one dashboard per user — the user can create as many dashboards as he or she wants and customize them to specific purposes — compliance, performance improvement, on-boarding, insurance, etc.; the tool includes a sophisticated dashboard designer that allows a knowledgeable user to design a dashboard that is actually relevant to the initiative at hand (which can be focussed on non-compliance, non-performance etc. — since we all know that dashboards that report success are dangerous and dysfunctional)

  • Advanced Search

    that allows the user to search for any data element using any fields, and filter using any set of fixed values (lists) and related elements; these searches can be used to define supplier sets for initiatives, using as many dimensions as necessary to get it right

  • User Defined Escalations

    that allow the user to define multiple levels of automated escalation during initiatives, where each escalation can occur at a different interval and be targeted to a different group or individual

These aren’t all the tricks the platform has to offer, but they are most of the tricks of note that serve to distinguish the HICX platform from the other SIM products on the market. If you’re on the market for a SIM solution, you should definitely take a look. The name and website might be a bit non-descriptive, but the tool certainly isn’t.

HICX Solutions Wants To Buy You A Shiny New Pair of Shoes! Part II

In Part I we noted that, despite the fact that SIM (Supplier Information Management) was old news and a mature Supply Management solution offering (as the early leaders in this space were formed as early as 2000), it may still have a few tricks up its sleeves and the acquisition of the right technology platform might just get the acquirer a shiny new pair of shoes that are as coveted as Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers. (Of course, the acquisition of the wrong technology might get the acquirer a pink slip.)

We also noted in Part I that HICX, which stands for Harmonize, Integrate, Control, and eXchange, a relatively new SIM offering on the market (even though it has been in development since 2004), not only addresses the classic SIM sweet-spots, but also hits a few new ones that can bring significant value to your organization if properly implemented and utilized as it brings with it a new bag of tricks. How does it do this?

Let’s start with the five major areas of SIM covered in Part I:

  • Onboarding

    The HICX platform not only allows the entire process to be automated, but allows the workflow to be customized to each supplier according to the supplier type (sub-contractor, one-off vendor, product, service, importer, government agency, etc.), the region the supplier is in, the business unit(s) the supplier deals with, the products or services the supplier offers, the languages the supplier uses, and the data that is required for performance, compliance, or other initiatives that involve the supplier. The customized process insures that the supplier is only asked for data that is needed, and that the supplier can designate the appropriate personnel to provide that data. The portal can be configured to include a significant number of data checks to not only make sure that the data is of the right type (numeric, alpha-numeric, attachment, etc.) but that the data provided makes sense (is in range, is from a pre-defined set of answers, etc.) — which prevents a lot of typos (which can result in bad scorecards and unnecessary alerts in an exception management setup, which the platform also supports). In addition, known supplier data can be pre-populated for review, and can even come from supplier directories (including the D&B directory). It’s very easy for the user doing the onboarding to customize this process as that user can customize the process by simply selecting the supplier type, region, business unit, products, services, languages, etc. of relevance to each supplier and the system does the rest. The user then has the option to add or remove additional requirements for individual suppliers, and override any and all defaults (that they have the authority to override as per the fine-grained permissions and securities models).

  • Master Data Management

    Not only does the MDM solution provide you with numerous “out-of-the-box” data models, standards, and validations that you can customize as needed, but it recognizes that MDM systems have to integrate with downstream ERP/MRP systems, upstream sourcing and procurement systems, and even overarching BI, Spend Analysis, and Reporting systems that cross and connect the streams. (Supply Management streams are not dematerializers — sometimes it is beneficial if the streams cross.) As a result, it has out-of-the-box integrations with a number of upstream, downstream, and mid-stream systems and can push, pull, and sync data as required according to any number of user-defined rules. Plus, it allows certain aspects of master data, including bank master data, to be handled separately (and stored in separate, heavily encrypted, and highly secure data sources).

  • Performance Management

    The performance management component, as expected, allows the user to build scorecards around business goals and use whatever information is required, whether it is supplier provided, internal or third-party and whether it comes from the SIM solution, upstream solutions, downstream solutions, or cross-stream solutions. It also supports a very dynamic and flexible scoring mechanism that can support whatever formulae the user feels is necessary to construct an adequate scorecard.

  • Compliance Management

    The compliance module allows the user to create and manage compliance initiatives across one or more suppliers for one or more projects. This can be as simple as collecting raw material data to insure that the products your suppliers are manufacturing do not contain any restricted substances under RoHS or other directives, or as complex as collecting all data relating to sustainability initiatives to directly and indirectly support your organization-wide Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.

  • Integrated Supplier Portal

    As per our coverage of the on-boarding solution, the portal is streamlined so that the supplier is only asked for data that is needed, all aspects of the portal provide the supplier with a consistent experience, and the supplier can designate the appropriate personnel to provide and maintain the data that is needed on a data type, product, or initiative basis.

But this is not all that the HICX solution has to offer. Come back for Part III.

HICX Solutions Wants To Buy You A Shiny New Pair of Shoes! Part I

Last week we asked if SIM was old news or a shiny new pair of shoes. We noted that SIM (Supplier Information Management) was a mature and stable technology with a large number of solution providers not only providing the tools and best practices to manage supplier life-cycles, but to manage risk, compliance, receivables and even spend repositories for spend management. It’s almost a commodity in the Supply Management space, and, thus, an acquisition thereof is not likely to get baby that new pair of shoes anytime soon. Unless, of course, the solution has some new tricks not found in most current solutions.

What tricks? Tricks that provide added value to your organization. What might these tricks look like? As per our last post on the issue, if the SIM product not only allowed a user to define, and redefine, data models as necessary but define, and redefine, workflows as necessary to allow an organization to not only accommodate new product demands but adapt to new technologies and new business requirements as they arise, then this would qualify as new tricks as many classic SIM products have rather fixed data models and inflexible workflows. It’s not the only new trick that would have value, but it is a new trick. And it’s a new trick that HICX Solutions brings to the table with their SIM solution. More on this later.

HICX, which stands for Harmonize, Integrate, Control, and eXchange, is a relatively new SIM offering (even though it has been in development since 2004) that not only addresses the classic SIM sweet-spots, but also hits a few new ones that can bring significant value to your organization if properly implemented and utilized. But let’s back up a bit.

In addition to classic SIM, the HICX SIM platform addresses each of the following areas, which, with the exception of MDM, are all addressed by most current SIM platforms:

  • OnboardingHICX is not the first SIM provider to have a comprehensive on-boarding solution, and won’t be the last, but they are one of the few that recognizes the absolute criticality of a good on-boarding process as effective SIM is 100% dependent on good, complete supplier data — which is dependent on the supplier providing that data to you on a timely basis. This is, of course, dependent on getting the supplier on-board not only with your efforts but the systems you use to collect the data. As a result, effective on-boarding is key.
  • Master Data ManagementWhile many SIM solutions manage data, most can’t serve as your MDM (Master Data Management) repository. However, the HICX solution can. This is important since most Supply Management solutions outside of the ERP space do not have MDM capabilities. But MDM is the key to good supplier and supply management initiatives as every initiative — analysis, modelling, payments, reporting — requires good data. And since the ERP is usually so tightly locked down, and such a mess, you rarely get the good data you need out of it.
  • Performance ManagementThe whole point of collecting good information is to help the organization effectively manage the supply base and improve both organization and supplier performance. As such, this was the first major piece of functionality offered by SIM providers and one of the staples that should be offered by every SIM provider.
  • Compliance ManagementA critical part of performance management is compliance management. It doesn’t matter if your supplier can produce the product 10% cheaper if they do so using a chemical that is banned under RoHS and your product would be confiscated if you tried to import it. Compliance is critical. Compliance with regulations and directives. Compliance with agreed to processes. Compliance with ethics. So you definitely need good compliance management capabilities.
  • Integrated Supplier PortalThe best way to get the data is directly from the supplier, and the supplier is only going to buy-in if the portal is easy to use and integrated. If the supplier has to go to a separate page for each request, with a different login, workflow and UI, the supplier is going to start boycotting your tools and your initiatives faster than the hammer drops.

Moreover, in a few of these areas, and MDM in particular, the HICX solution adds a few tricks of its own. What tricks? Come back for Part II.

Procurement — Why We Matter Even More!

Last week, we re-ran a post by David Furth, former VP of Marketing at Hiperos and current President of Leap the Pond, on Procurement – Why We Really Matter. In this post, David explained that Procurement is on the verge of its next major transformation where it will continuously assess risk and introduce integrated processes and controls across the company to mitigate the risk by working closely with other functional areas, business lines, and geographies. In addition, Procurement will implement management control programs that actively monitor both performance and compliance to help ensure suppliers are meeting all their obligations.

David was, and is, right. Now that everything is outsourced, resourced, and optimized to razor-thin JIT models, risk management — and continuous monitoring — is key. But that is just the beginning.

It’s not just risk monitoring, but compliance monitoring and performance monitoring. (Safety) regulations (like RoHS, WEEE, and REACH) are coming into effect fast and furious around the globe, as are bans on toxic substances, materials and products that can be used to create dangerous weapons, and conflict minerals and diamonds. As a result, compliance monitoring is becoming more and more important.

But so is performance monitoring. You can’t ignore the importance of quality, reliability, and safety as it is your reputation — and bank account — on the line. If the products you deliver continually break under warranty, even if you have a policy that you can return for replacement, you’re still losing the profit, the customer’s trust, and the costs associated with processing the return. If the products hurt someone — you’re getting sued, not your supplier. And if the products don’t perform up to spec, even if they don’t break, the customer ain’t coming back.

And even though savings aren’t everything, because it all comes down to ROI — value delivered by your organization. However, if your organization is to remain competitive, it still has to keep costs in check and at least keep costs in line with your competition. Often the only way to do this is to identify when you need to help your suppliers decrease their costs and increase their productivity, and this requires constant performance monitoring.

And who else in the organization can properly monitor risk, compliance, and supplier performance? Not manufacturing. Not logistics. And definitely not finance. That’s why Procurement Matters — Now More Than Ever.

Hiperos – It’s So Hip To Be Square with 3rd Party Management! Part II

Hiperos provides a SaaS platform that allows an organization to manage the entire 3rd party lifecycle, which consists of registration, data collection, segmentation, control automation, assessment, management, and collaborative issue resolution.

Hiperos includes your standard SIM (Supplier Information Management) functionality that allows for supplier self-service registration and profile maintenance and data integration from third party sources. On top of that it implements a user-configurable rules-based workflow that allows third-parties to be segmented into different buckets that represent the different programs that they need to be subjected too – be it FCPA, REACH, WEE, HIPPA, or some other type of compliance or monitoring program. Each bucket has its associated monitoring rules that notify the third party when more information is needed and that automatically alerts the user when a violation is detected or when information is not provided by the third party in a timely fashion. Assessments are automatically run every time new data becomes available and can be run by a user at any time. The fact that all relevant third party information is available at all times allows users to pro-actively manage third parties, and associated risks, and then either work with third parties to mitigate risks, if the potential infraction can be corrected, or cut them loose if the risk of association is too great (because they showed up on a denied party list or use child labour in their supply chain).

The application, which loads the default user-defined dashboard, allows a user to manage third parties, engagements, relationships, products, and programs and to define programs, vendor communities, reports, and analytics.

The dashboard is multi-tabbed and allows a user to define relevant views on each of the application areas defined above, as well as a default dashboard that allows the user to see the information most relevant to him or her. At the top of the dashboard is a link to current action items that allows a user to quickly see what needs to be done in third party management, engagements, programs, etc. The dashboards can be configured using hundreds of pre-defined (reporting) widgets or the user can define their own widgets by defining appropriate reports in the reporting module. And the user can bring in real-time news and data feeds from sites of interest.

The application can track any compliance, performance, sustainability, or risk data elements of interest and, like any good SIM platform, is preconfigured to track hundreds of relevant data items, depending upon the programs you define as relevant for a given compliance, performance, or risk program (which minimizes the amount of configuration required to track custom fields). And not only is all relevant data available from any view that is program or user defined, but it’s all interlinked so a user can click on a third party included in a program, see the relevant report(s), and then dive into the third party data management screen to examine the raw data elements, and then run a report on just a data subset.

Program definition is flexible and allows for any type of compliance, risk, sustainability, or performance program you can think of. In addition, the fact that Hiperos also supports contract meta-data and third-party data feeds allows financial impact reports to be generated. That way, a user always knows what the impact of a third-party falling out of compliance is to the organization. Knowing that a tier-one supplier might be buying from a tier-two supplier that might be using child labour is one thing, but knowing that the organization is spending 20 Million across 5 categories on that tier-one supplier is something else. In the first case, the supplier is put on the “investigate” list and someone gets around to it when they get around to it. In the second case, the user knows that it is a high priority and an investigation has to be started immediately as the public backlash will be extremely damaging to the organization if it gets out that 20 Million is being spent on products and/or services that were partially produced by child labour.

Hiperos has also included extensive color-coded geo-mapping capabilities so that you can quickly see, for any program, where the highest risk areas are globally and dive in. While Hiperos is not the first company to do this, they have latched on to the fact that the visual representation of risk or non-compliance by region allows one to quickly see what regions have to be monitored. This allows resources to be properly applied, especially since proper monitoring will typically require subscriptions to appropriate data feeds for those regions.

The Market Intelligence capabilites are quite extensive too, and they have pre-configured watch-lists, diversity monitoring, parent-subsidiary monitoring, subcontractor monitoring, REACH/WEE monitoring, and dozens of other feeds of interest which can be enabled as required by the client.

And the analytics piece supports the full suite of slice-and-dice capabilities found in most sourcing products today, so that you can dive into the data and find out which suppliers, categories, or programs represent the highest risk to your organization.

There’s quite a bit of data, and the application can be quite busy at times, but Hiperos has one thing right, where compliance is concerned, it’s Hip to be Square.