We all know the age-old service statement that goes, “the customer is always right.” Well, in procurement, it isn’t the customer that your staff is working with, but much more often, the supplier. That being said, however, the supplier relationship is nearly just as critical to the success of an organization as the customers themselves. As such, supplier relationship management and supplier information management are two of the staple pillars of procurement to which your staff needs to attend.

Supplier management is all about taking an objective look at the suppliers with which your company is currently under contract. This includes everything from data analysis to contract management. Thankfully, with supplier management software, many of these activities are boosted for the convenience of your highly trained procurement staff. Now, however, supplier information management is also bolstered by impressive and sophisticated software that encompasses a suite of features designed to make your supplier information management easier, more efficient, and more cost-effective. 

Getting to Know Supplier Information Management

Supplier information management is one level deeper than supplier management. While supplier management itself deals with high-level decision-making based on the data analytics provided, supplier information management is a sub-level of supplier management that empowers this data analysis and eventual decision making. 

At its most basic level, supplier information management (or SIM), is the collection and centralization of pertinent data as it relates to significant suppliers and vendors with which your team works. This creates a more accessible foundation from which your staff can run analyses and reports, pull insights, and make informed data-based decisions.  

Centralizing Data

Centralized data may sound like history is repeating itself. While not the focus of this article, it is interesting to see a return to the centralization of businesses after the massive wave of decentralization that occurred. However, when it comes to data at least, having a central and standardized repository is extremely beneficial. 

While each and every organization is slightly different and there’s no one-size solution that will work for everyone; centralizing the data pulled and collected on suppliers eases the entire data analysis process. Rather than tracking down and running reports between data reports scattered across a variety of systems, supplier information management uses technology to funnel the necessary supplier data into a single repository.

Standardized Formats

Funneling all of this data into a single repository makes a lot of sense. This way, all of the data is in the same place, and staff can save time by running reports across this single conglomerate of data. However, there’s still one more hurdle to clear before your team will be able to successfully run these reports and analyses. 

By importing the raw data from a variety of sources, the SIM technology still needs to marry all of the data together. Think old-timey diners when the waitstaff would take two nearly empty ketchup bottles to make one less-empty bottle: but rather than saving condiments, this software matches and marries data so it’s all in the same digestible format. 

Making the Most Out of Supplier Information Management

Now that the data has all been centralized and standardized, your staff will be able to utilize the data to generate powerful reports and analyses from which they’ll draw insights. These insights will delve into a variety of aspects such as financial savings and opportunities, potentially wasteful contracts, and areas that are already operating optimally. 

From there, your staff will be able to make powerfully informed decisions based on data, projections, and historic trends. This amount of transparency into operations is extremely valuable, making SIM a widely accepted industry standard and best practice. 

A Quick Recap and Overview

Procurement envelops an incredibly wide array of business activities. From contract management to supplier and vendor relationship management, sourcing in supply chain, and, as we’ve discussed here, supplier information management as well. Combining and optimizing these various components through comprehensive procurement software can completely elevate your business and procurement activities to the next level. 

For more information on supplier information management, or the trends of spend management in 2021, keep browsing ProcurePort. ProcurePort is the internet’s premier place for everything procurement, from knowledge and information to software and technology, and everything in between.