When searching for the perfect supplier management solution, you probably have a checklist in mind. An ideal solution should streamline processes and reduce administrative workload on an easy-to-use platform. The dashboard should provide easy access to a variety of tools and reports, all designed to improve your supplier management program and let you spend time doing work that matters. As you demo supplier diversity solutions, look for easy access to these eight items from the supplier portal dashboard:
- Supplier locator: This tool allows you to sort suppliers by location, NAICS, size, diversity category, etc. Quickly sift through suppliers to find potential new links in your supply chain. When paired with a comprehensive source like supplier.io, you know the information is accurate and up-to-date.
- Supplier Registration: Invite specific suppliers (or all suppliers) to register to be a supplier for your organization. Registration should be customizable, letting you craft questions specific to your needs. A supplier registration portal tailored to your specifications drastically reduces the time and resources needed to vet suppliers.
- Opportunities: With this tool you can send out RFIs/bid opportunities to suppliers that meet specific criteria to ensure the most relevant firms receive the notice. Segment opportunities based on supplier NAICS, diversity type, location, product description, etc. Set keywords to filter suppliers by type and include questions for suppliers to answer to help speed up the vetting & bidding process.
- Tier 1 Reports: Accurate reporting is required for compliance, to track your company's progress toward diversity spend goals, and for risk management. Your supplier management solution should make it easy to generate the reports your organization needs, significantly reducing administrative workload. Preloaded templates allow you to quickly access information about Tier 1 suppliers such as spend by diversity category and supplier details. Customizable reports give you the option to generate comprehensive reports using data sets and parameters you specify.
- Communication with Suppliers: Streamline your communication processes with a system that allows you to craft mass emails to send to suppliers containing important information about upcoming RFPs/bids, development opportunities, etc. You should be able to track open rates, click rates, and bounce rates with this tool, maximizing your reach and influence.
- Task Manager or Workflow: As a supplier diversity professional, you're juggling multiple projects at once. Keep the team on track by assigning tasks to supplier diversity personnel such as reviewing supplier registrations, preparing RFIs, and communicating with suppliers. Milestones and deadlines are clearly noted so everyone knows what they need to do, and the status of your supplier projects.
- Notifications: Working in conjunction with the task flow, a notification system helps you stay up-to-date with your to-do list as well as monitor team assignments.
- Help: We can’t know all of the things all of the time. Your supplier management solution should include a thorough, up-to-date, easy-to-use library of documents to maximize your operation of the platform. You should also have access to a knowledgeable support team who can walk you through resolving any problems you encounter or unique issues you may have.
Each supplier diversity program is unique, which is why a supplier management solution should offer a menu of tools and services that meet a range of common demands while also allowing you to tailor the solution to meet your program’s specific needs. Use this checklist as a starting point to find the best solution for your program.