MCL has just launched the new version of its Supplier Collaborator software, having re-engineered it and made it more focused than its predecessor. Its purpose is still to help retailers, brand owners and manufacturing agents with their ethical sourcing.
Built on a new software platform, Supplier Collaborator has these main functions
- Finding, verifying and adopting new suppliers
- Managing ethical and technical factory audits of existing suppliers
- Maintaining scorecards for qualitative and quantitative criteria
- Communicating with suppliers, individually or en masse
MCL’s director, Andrew Lambert: “The basis for the software was the apparent lack of any software which helped our clients, target companies and suppliers. ‘Collaboration’ is a term too often used for a retailer or brand owner just announcing to its suppliers that it’s going to extend their payment terms or stop using them because their performance has apparently deteriorated. Instead it should be a term used for real co-operation and transparency that result in each organisation improving.”
“Supplier Collaborator allows Buying and Sourcing teams to identify potential areas of weakness in a supplier, help them to address those issues and get back to where they need to be. It also works the other way – it does no harm for a retailer or brand owner to encourage suppliers to highlight things that they could be doing in order for the supplier to be offering a good service at the right price.”
The software is deceptively simple. The user dashboard gives an immediate view for each user of the immediate tasks to being managed:
Existing vendors can be organised in any way that makes sense to an organisation, including “My Vendors” which is unique to each user so that they don’t have to keep finding the ones they deal with all the time among the hundreds or thousands of the total:
Within each vendor’s record, which can be maintained by any authorised internal or external user, there is information about capabilities, capacity, compliance, relationships with other vendors and their total scorecard values:
Audits and compliance reviews are scheduled and tracked:
Performance reviews can be managed at the top level of an organisation or at the level of each individual business unit and rolled up for a total score.
Potential new suppliers can be reviewed, evaluated and audited using Supplier Collaborator. The steps can be conducted manually or can be driven by the powerful workflow engine that’s included with the software.
The functionality included in Supplier Collaborator is sufficient for many organisations to manage their sourcing ethically. If there is a requirement to extend that functionality, for example to pull data in from or send it back out to an ERP or other business system that is straightforward. It’s built on a PLM foundation so linking supplier information with product information is easy: if a Buyer raises a purchase order for a product quantity which exceeds the capacity of the supplier then an alert can be generated accordingly.
In summary, Supplier Collaborator seems to fill a hole in the armoury of retailers, brand owners and manufacturing agents, many of whom rely on spreadsheets and other disconnected ways of keeping tabs on their suppliers. It has been very well received by those who have seen it so watch this space…..
For more information visit www.suppliercollaborator.com