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Driving Growth through Supplier Information Management

Increasingly we see companies with skilled procurement teams leading significant transformation, innovation and results across their organisation. A developed and mature procurement function will be striving to achieve the following:

  • Improving EBITDA, margin and cash flow
  • Accelerating speed to market
  • Innovation and product development
  • Supplier development and relationship management

With all these priorities though, it is important to ensure streamlined processes are in place for some of the more functional administrative tasks. Admin is not always top of the list and many businesses are still using email and spreadsheets to manage parts of these processes. However, delays here can all too often delay key priorities and errors can be costly as well as damaging to your brand. Supplier Information Management (SIM) is one area that can be incredibly time consuming but needs to be well managed as failure can significantly impact business performance in areas such as the following:

  • Brand protection and avoidance of legal disputes
  • Visibility and control: compliance and standardisation across the supply chain
  • Legislation compliance: e.g. Health and Safety, Modern Slavery Act, Food Allergens
  • Risk mitigation: insurance validation etc.
  • Contract compliance: Training, Accreditations, Licensing
  • Customer satisfaction: e.g. dietary/health trends, ethical/sustainable products

Research from the International Labour Organization in 2016 has shown that over 24.9 million people are in forced labour worldwide. In 2016 two of the world's biggest coffee companies, Nestlé and Jacobs Douwe Egberts, were forced to admit that some coffee from their Brazilian supply chains MAY have been produced by slave labour. The problem was that neither company could identify all the plantations that supplied them, and subsequently any working practices or breaches in modern slavery laws which may have occurred within them.

In a recent survey 66% of consumers* claimed they would stop buying from a brand or business if they learnt that its production used modern slavery.

Automation of Supplier Information Management

An increasingly adopted solution to such issues is the use of smart technology specifically designed to manage, control and streamline SIM. Automating processes in this key functional area can deliver a multitude of benefits.

  • Security of brand reputation
  • Automation of information management
  • Reduced risk through supply chain management
  • Instant access to centralised information
  • Streamlined and auditable process
  • Accelerated product development and innovations
  • More time to focus on other priorities
Some real-time application examples are below:
  • Know immediately where and if allergens are present in your supply chain
  • Instant view of compliance with working conditions across your supplier base
  • Checking at the touch of a button that product shipments are appropriately insured
  • Ensuring contracted staff have the necessary qualifications, accreditations and insurance to:
- Care for your patients
- Perform electrical work on your premises
- Adhere to your organisational and statutory commitments

By using technology to gather and store supplier information centrally, with proactive management and alerting to ensure that information is always up to date, you can start to move your supplier management processes from an administrative burden to a strategic function. Collaboration is enabled across your organisation and instant reporting tools provide up to date and accurate management information.

When is Investing in Supplier Information Management Appropriate?

Any organisation where the supply chain can have a strategic impact to the business should be looking to effectively manage supplier information. This is especially appropriate for companies:

  • Operating in heavily regulated industries
  • Managing any form of risk and compliance
  • Subject to external audits
  • Collecting large amounts of documentation from their supplier base
  • Managing supply at site or product level
The past 10 years has seen significant technological development to support SIM, and implementing the right tools is enabling growth as businesses become more agile.

Delivering Excellence in Supplier Management

PEPCO partners with Trade Interchange, a specialist in procurement technology solutions. Their software enables collaboration across the supply base, and is specifically designed to address supplier and contractual risk, supplier performance management and eSourcing. The SIM module is their central supply chain management solution.

SIM provides a 360° view of supplier information across your organisation. Suppliers on-board themselves, completing tailored questionnaires to collect what your business needs to know about your suppliers. This helps you to reduce risk, ensure compliance, and helps with supplier discovery and selection. The system provides a full audit trail, giving evidence of best practice and ensuring procedures are in place to protect your brand and reputation.

SIM is a cloud-based web-based central repository and is ISO 27001 compliant.

If you would like to find out more about SIM tools and technology please contact Mark Russell: 0203 008 7585 or

*YouGov, Walk Free Foundation – Modern Slavery, 11 March 2015

Find out more about TrueValue and how it could strengthen your procurement processes.
Call us on +44 (0) 20 3008 7588 or email us at
Find out more about TrueValue and how it could strengthen your procurement processes.
Call us on +44 (0)20 3008 7588 or email us at