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Author's profile photo Tony Harris

Smarter Supplier Management Tools – Who Needs ’Em?

Most likely, you do. Many businesses today oversee tens of thousands of suppliers, and the task can be overwhelming. You’re trying to make good supply chain management decisions, but it’s almost impossible to get the best results from manual tools, missed signals, and uninformed guesses. And even small gaps in your supplier risk management process can cause devastating damage to your reputation and your business.


Where does it hurt?

  • Redundant and disconnected processes. Each department, region, and business unit has its own supplier records and onboarding and qualification processes. Visibility gaps across these disjointed systems and activities – especially when you have thousands of global suppliers to manage, with many of them critical to your business – can cause risks to slip through the cracks.


  • Broken supplier records and assessments. If supplier records are outdated, overlap, or lack consistency with one-off assessments, internal stakeholders won’t be able to agree or make the best decisions.


  • Selection of non-preferred suppliers. Without clear access to an approved vendor list kept in a central location, supplier performance management suffers. Business units can’t identify or find the best suppliers, impairing strategic sourcing efficiency while driving up costs and potential risks.


  • Inadequate monitoring. Many companies conduct supplier risk assessment only once during the onboarding process and rely on Google alerts to track emerging risk factors. As a result, early warning signs of failing supplier health often go undetected.


  • Difficulty maintaining accurate information. The lack of a unified, expansive database where suppliers can easily update their own profiles translates to missing and inaccurate information, elevating risk levels. Repeated update requests from the same buying organization also contribute to supplier fatigue, reducing compliance and damaging supplier relationships.


The technology transformation: Minimize vulnerability, maximize value

So how can you shift from reactive to proactive risk management and risk mitigation? Technology plays a critical role in this transformation. By implementing holistic, agile, integrated supplier management solutions across your business and procurement teams, you gain the resources you need to not just protect but boost your brand. Built-in intelligence, global visibility, and customizable alerts and tools help you optimize accuracy, eliminate exposure, and enhance collaboration – empowering you to make smarter, safer supply chain decisions and build a more sustainable, purpose-driven business.


To learn more, read the SAP Ariba supplier management e-book or visit our supplier management solutions web page.

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