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Supplier Diversity Blog by supplier.io

Which Features Are Important in Vendor Management Software

which-features-are-important-in-vendor-management-software-345872-edited.jpgSupplier diversity programs are typically understaffed and under-resourced, yet the work done by supplier diversity professionals is vital to the health and growth of the supply chain. Adding another element–such as Tier 2 reporting, vetting potential suppliers, or verifying data integrity–might be necessary to grow your supplier diversity program, but who has the time?

Partnering with a third-party organization can relieve administrative load while aiding the growth of your supplier diversity program; partnership will allow you to focus on specific elements contributing to the success of supplier diversity programs: verifying supplier readiness, enriching critical program data, and tracking and analyzing spend. Because your time is valuable, and it is time-consuming to evaluate potential third-party partners, we're compiling a list of features to expect when determining if a solution is right for you.

Supplier Discovery

Managing a deep roster of diverse suppliers is crucial to the viability and strength of your supply chain, while leading to questions. How do you quickly and efficiently source potential new suppliers? How can you audit potential suppliers to ensure that their skills are a good match for your needs? In these areas, a supplier discovery tool can make a tremendous difference to your supplier diversity team.

Supplier discovery should be an automated process that places key supplier data at the fingertips of the supplier diversity and procurement professional. Backed by a constantly updated database as well as a supplier portal that allows businesses to update their information, an effective vendor management software automates mundane tasks, so that you can build those supplier relationships.

What to look for in a supplier discovery tool:

  • Ability to search and filter by diversity category, certification source, commodity, area of expertise, geographical location, etc.
  • Customizable supplier registration portal
  • Up-to-date company and supplier contact information
  • Internal ability to share supplier information
  • Ability to track certification status, mergers and acquisitions, certificates of insurance, information on privately owned companies, etc.

Data Enrichment & Analysis

In the current business climate, success often relies on the quality of our data. Data must be relevant to be useful; relevance will always mean data that is accurate, error-free, complete, consistent, current, and non-duplicative. Both data enrichment and analysis, i.e. the process for enhancing often unwieldy raw data, are two critical paths on the way to achieving data relevance.

What to expect from data enrichment and analysis:

  • Detailed, current reports of utilization of diverse suppliers within the existing corporate supply base
  • Updated certification or classification status of diverse suppliers
  • Identification and removal of duplicate supplier records
  • Consolidation of vendor information
  • Information provided on current merger and acquisition activity and joint ventures, as well as parent-child family connections
  • Granular analysis and customizable reporting
  • Economic impact modeling

Tier 2 Reporting

A Tier 2 program allows you to grow your supplier diversity program and support opportunities for smaller, diverse suppliers. By extending procurement spending dollars through prime suppliers on a second tier, you not only increase the diversity of your spending, but also you strengthen the supply chain and boost your economic impact. Like your Tier 1 program, your Tier 2 initiative must be subject to stringent controls in spending and accountability to ensure effectiveness. A third-party partner can help track and report Tier 2 spending without putting an additional administrative burden on your supplier diversity team.

What to look for in Tier 2 reporting services:

  • An intuitive, web-based client-configured portal for tracking Tier 2 diverse supplier spending
  • Allowance for suppliers to report indirect spend one time, then push it out to all clients, eliminating the supplier workload
  • Aggregation of data for on-demand reporting
  • Enabling of automated supplier notifications

Strategic Services

Any third-party partner that supports the corporate supplier diversity function will offer a number of services in its portfolio in order to ease the burden on internal resources: supplier diversity employee training, program advancement, program management, etc. These basic functions will be listed in almost every promotional copy encountered during your research. The real value of employing a third-party partner goes deeper. Any partner should be a true collaborator, invested in and committed to growing and strengthening your supplier diversity program; this type of partner will offer effective tools, keen insight, and practical solutions.

What to look for from a strategic services collaboration:

  • Ability to fully manage your Tier 2 program
  • Development of short and long-term goals, incorporating benchmarking statistics within respective industries
  • Assistance in helping you create, track, and align relevant metrics that specifically relate to the company’s core business drivers
  • Assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your supplier diversity program
  • Proposals and solutions to develop and grow the program
  • Fostering the development of communication protocols to articulate program success, both internally and external ly
  • Delivery of the tools and processes needed to achieve the executive buy-in, budget, and support necessary to enable supplier diversity program growth
  • Assistance in supplier risk assessments or certificate of insurance verification

Partnering with a third party can mean the difference between a struggling supplier diversity program and a program that makes a real difference in the company, community, and individuals' lives. As you research potential collaborative partners, keep in mind the ways that your program needs assistance to achieve your goals. The right third-party solution is the one that moves the needle and helps your supplier diversity program reach new levels. 


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The team has a long history in driving innovative solutions in supplier diversity. We believe that companies deserve solutions that are effective and provide measurable value and results. Started more than a decade ago, supplier.io has rapidly become a prominent provider of supplier diversity solutions to leading corporations. We currently support customers in automotive, healthcare, insurance, retail, manufacturing, education, and banking. One in five Fortune 50 company relies on supplier.io.