Indeed, the worst case scenario for many organisations recently came true with the collapse of Carillion, one of the UK's largest facilities management and construction services companies, leaving its many thousands of customers in a bind.
Carillion is an extreme case but it is a good reminder of the potential risks that may be lurking in your supply chain. This is especially true as the rate of corporate bankruptcies rises.
George Putnam of The Turnaround Letter expects corporate bankruptcy activity in the United States to remain at a high level for at least the next few years, as the significant amount of debt that was raised during the exuberant markets since 2009 comes due. Now is the time to get closer to your suppliers and understand their potential impact on your organisation.
The need for procurement to check and double check the financial stability of suppliers, and to meet regulatory compliance obligations, is now paramount to safeguard the continuity of business operations. But this will be an impossible task for procurement teams to attempt without better, timely access to supplier information.
Knowing as much about your suppliers as possible will not only minimise the risk of supply chain disruptions but will also lower the cost of managing suppliers, which can be huge for procurement organizations. Gartner estimates that companies typically spend $1,000 managing a supplier, per year. For the majority of procurement teams looking to find innovative new ways to improve the bottom line, these sorts of costs are increasingly difficult to justify.
The cost and risk of selecting poorly vetted suppliers can be greatly minimised by improving your onboarding process. Unfortunately, many procurement organisations neglect to focus on this important initial stage in the supplier lifecycle. Why? It comes down to relying on traditional approaches to engaging suppliers, including an over reliance on manual tools to manage a plethora of supplier information and documentation such as financial statements, product offerings, certifications and external credit scores.
The benefits of using modern procurement digital technologies to onboard and manage suppliers include:
And it’s not just for you, too. Research from McKinsey cites that 80% of suppliers rate ease and speed of onboarding as highly important to their success. In other words, a better onboarding process is a win-win for you and your suppliers.
So, where do you go from here? Here are a few tips for you to consider:
Acknowledge that your suppliers are a great source of knowledge and expertise, which can help you create greater value for your company. Effective supplier onboarding will transform your procurement organisation.