If you could line up all the supplier data in your critical and non critical systems – how many miles would they reach? How much time is spent managing poor data? How many decisions may have been conducted based on non optimal information?
The discussion about how to tackle the often thousands of suppliers and their data, validation, risk analysis and so on most if not all companies have is old. As HICX state ”Fifty years after the expression “garbage in, garbage out” was coined, organizations still struggle with data quality. The 2017 & 2018 & 2019 Deloitte survey of CPOs showed data quality and lack of data integration as the biggest barriers in Supplier Management becoming digital, and also lists current technology limitations as the 4th biggest reason.”
Are the solutions to tackle the challenges any newer?
HICX joined Source 2 Pay Summit 2020 discussing ”Supplier Master Data and Lifecycle Information Management Challenges and Best Practice”. EBG have had an online follow up session after the summit. Three common and very challenging supplier data management questions came up. EBG wanted to learn how HICX tackle the challenges! Ragnar Lorentzen, Chief commercial officer at HICX is interviewed below.
”HICX is the highly flexible SaaS platform that provides seamless digital Supplier Information Management. We enable business to find, maintain, and re-use trusted supplier data and information throughout the Enterprise, across any spreadsheet, app or system. Learn more via hicx.com“
HICX enables ONE single portal to onboard suppliers and handle all supplier information centrally. The idea to enable ONE single point of entry for 100% of suppliers, from your most strategic ones to the long tail and one off suppliers as well. Most would argue this is or would be an ideal way of working however there are some challenges brought up in the follow up session.
Before getting started EBG wanted to know – How do HICX solution differ from the other supplier master data solutions in the market?
No other portal in the market is capable of handling all suppliers in a single portal which is HICX’s main competitive advantage. To do this a highly flexible platform is needed, one that can seamlessly align to individual Enteprises ways of working because everyone is different. HICX’s low code capability is what makes this possible from a technical point of view. But managing complex supplier information is also a highly unique skill which enable clients of HICX to implement best practice data governance and processes and implement such solution across a complex Enterprise at speed and with optimized internal user and supplier experience to ensure adoption. This results in a net positive return on the investment within 18-24 months and highly attractive 5 year TCO impact.
3 questions about Onboarding, Multiple ERPs & business units and People Management
Below EBG have outlined three challenges that came up in the follow up session with regards to supplier information management. Let’s find out how HICX tackle them!
This is a common challenge and one that can be explained by the limited use case such AP portal have, typically invoice management. The reason suppliers don’t visit such portal is simply because they don’t feel the need to. The trick is to be able to centralize all touch points and communication with suppliers in a single portal, rather than having multiple supplier facing tools for different needs. For organizations using HICX as their only link with suppliers they have established many collaboration touch points across the supplier life cycle which means that they are on the platform more often and hence will also see when their information isn’t up to date which they can correct whenever they are on the portal.
The need for a HICX platform grows with complexity because it ensures that the data across all platforms is fed from a single source of truth. The more ERPs a company have, the more they struggle with bad data. The trick to solve the various needs from ’data stakeholders’ such as ERPs, local business units and data stewards is to agree common data governance across the Enterprise and design processes that align to all the data stakeholders as opposed to forcing ’a one size fits all’ approach which always fail.
This require a very flexible software so that the user only have to align to the information requirements relevant for their context. For instance, an ERP needs the data in the way that instance has been configured but one cannot show this complexity to an end user as it will confuse them. The requirements will inevitably be different across BUs meaning that the portal needs to align accordingly and ask the supplier to only collect the information that is relevant.
Not only does this apply for BUs but for many more factors, such as where the local operating unit is located, where the supplier is located, what type of supplier it is, what category as well as to whether or not the supplier is going to be supplying to a manufacturing plant or not + several other factors.
A portal need to have specific processes defined for all these factors in order for the portal to be workable for the whole Enterprise and provide a great user experience. Imagine if a supplier saw ALL the various requirements that exist across the whole company. Not only would they need a very thick handbook to help them understand what would apply to their specific situation but many would simply not accept to use such portal at all. In the words of Mondelez, HICX ’crushes this complexity’.
Finally, the portal would need to be able to digitally manage the entire supplier information workflow, from the point when someone in the business is requesting a new supplier to when the record is created in the ERP, AND any ongoing changes to the data.
This means every person involved in the process also needs access to the portal. With HICX this is managed in the workflow which pulls in relevant stakeholders when necessary, whether it is central, regional or local procurement teams, AP, Quality, Compliance, Legal etc. With central data governance, processes optimized for each user and everything happening in a single portal the outcome is great data where all stakeholders in helping create and maintain this in a sustainable way.
This is a great question and a common perceived challenge. It is understandable that people in the business that needs part of the supplier information in their work and have the relationship with suppliers are worried when a central tool is implemented.
They are, and rightly so, concerned about the ability of the central tool to cater for the supplier information needs that exist for their business unit or operating company and whether the relationship they have directly with the supplier would suffer or taken away from them.
It is important to know that a tool like HICX does not take anything away from local relationship owners or their supplier data. In fact, the whole point with getting a tool in place is to enable local processes and relationship management. To operate digitally and more smoothly, whilst capturing the exact information that any stakeholder require.
One should think of HICX as a solution that will cater to all stakeholder needs and run processes locally. Being a low code platform this is possible with HICX. During the first phase of the implementation, the design workshops are involving all the various stakeholders and mapping out their exact requirements and workflows. Operational complexity is not a barrier to achieving this.
For years EBG have enabled discussions about ”which half of the data to throw out” to name it bluntly. Too much old data and too little time to deal with it. Too many systems and people involved to create a single, updated view. I.e the cleansing, segmenting and classification of data is a huge challenge for most. Costing a lot of wasted opportunities and ”real” money.
Does HICX have the solution? Time will tell. We can learn more form the Mondelez story and how they have tackled the master data and supplier information challenges. Mondelez sought to not use excel and SharePoint any more. Creating a single connection point for suppliers to conduct business and collaborate with Mondelez, have a central supplier information hub and enable a better supplier experience.