With many suppliers often needing to be onboarded regularly, how do you onboard a supplier in an efficient way? How do you ensure transparency in the supplier onboarding process? How do you mitigate risk and maintain compliance? And how do you create an onboarding process that is relevant to each supplier, as often one size does not fit all?
The good news is there is a better way than managing the process through spreadsheets, email, or for the need for companies to build and maintain their in-house systems.
This case study demonstrates supplier onboarding in action with Aggreko, a global leader in temporary power, heating and cooling, headquartered in Glasgow, Scotland.
Although Aggreko had started to digitise their supplier onboarding process through the use of another software provider, the solution didn’t effectively meet their requirements for mitigating risk.
To overcome this issue, Aggreko partnered with Market Dojo, to further develop Market Dojo’s existing supplier onboarding tool, SIM Dojo. This joint project aimed to evolve SIM Dojo into an extensive and largely automated supplier onboarding solution to fit Aggreko’s complex needs.
The impact of using SIM Dojo resulted in
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Global manufacturers often have complex supply chains spanning multiple geographies, thousands of suppliers, hundreds of supply categories and an equal number of internal managers across dozens of languages and local regulations.
The process for onboarding suppliers and conducting necessary due diligence must be robust yet agile enough to cater for all these nuances.
However, in our experience, 90% of organisations follow a rigid ‘one size fits all’ process, with a central function manually applying a standard procedure.
This was the situation for the team at Aggreko. But it definitely didn’t fit.
This is how Aggreko set about looking to improve its current supplier onboarding process with SIM Dojo.
Aggreko’s Global Supply, Quality and Performance team recognised that the existing tools weren’t mitigating risk, both with compliance and performance.
Primarily, the existing software was not dynamic for Aggreko’s needs—due to the complexity of different question sets for different regions and risks—and they were wholly reliant on manual intervention to instigate supplier onboarding and review events. As a result, adding automation, moreover being able to define that automation, was an important requirement.
Second, the user-experience was poor as the existing tools weren’t intuitive or simple to use resulting in everything taking too long to complete. But it was impossible to identify where the bottle-necks were in the onboarding process as the existing tool didn’t provide data on this. As a result, Aggreko felt it was important to move towards a data-driven approach.
Having identified Aggreko’s set of requirements, the team set out to find a technology partner with the ability and eagerness to develop the solution that they needed.
Aggreko approached Market Dojo after testing the functionality of SIM Dojo, their supplier onboarding solution, by using the software’s free Sandpit feature. After identifying Market Dojo as the right partner for this joint project, the team built the business case for change including how to engage with the required internal stakeholders.
A vital component for the 200+ stakeholders was migrating the existing supplier data into the new platform and maintaining the existing logic and rules for compliance. So, early on in the project, Aggreko and the Market Dojo development team ran migration tests to give stakeholders the confidence that the full data set would be transferred over. This level of collaboration and engagement became a common thread throughout the project, involving many parts of Aggreko’s organisation.
Ultimately, a six-month development project was initiated to design, build and launch a ‘dynamic supplier onboarding’ solution.
Unlike many processes, Market Dojo’s solution— SIM Dojo—automatically tailors the onboarding process determined by a weighted risk profile of the supplier.
“Dynamic onboarding based on risk (determines) how much information you gather was of the utmost importance, don’t ask 213 questions if you can ask 10-20. That is the ethos behind the solution,” explains the team lead at Aggreko.
And, for large supply chains, having a dynamic process that allows users to focus on high risk categories will have a huge impact.
“When you’ve got 15,000 suppliers in the supply chain you need to spend time where the risk is… for 30% of our suppliers we only need to ask 30-40 questions, before we were asking 213 questions regardless.”
Furthermore, using the same logic, the solution automatically determines the appropriate local and central approval workflow (from 100 different options) that is required to vet the supplier. The solution even has built-in escalation workflows should any given approver request their line manager to step in.
For example, a high-risk supplier—determined by their geography, supply category and spend value—would be automatically required to complete a thorough online evaluation and be assessed by multiple local, regional and global approvers from numerous departments, even in parallel. Yet a low-risk supplier would be subject only to a basic questionnaire and sole approver.
The third area that makes SIM Dojo unique is the level of language support.
It was vitally important that Aggreko’s supplier questionnaires can be viewed in 23 different languages, but as a singular version so that any new legislative changes only need to be applied to the original template.
With SIM Dojo, the entire process and online evaluations can be done in dozens of different languages, from both buyer and supplier perspective, but all as the same questionnaire(s) and process to maintain compliance and data uniformity.
“It is vitally important to the business that regions are able to onboard their local supply chain in the relevant language,” says Aggreko, “We support 23 different languages not only in the tool UX, but in the dozen or so supplier questionnaires, which the system is clever enough to enable us to maintain that on an ongoing basis.”
Given the extent of this project, and its complexity, the benefits were evident in a relatively short amount of time.
“Within months, we migrated 8,500 existing suppliers and onboarded 3,000 new ones. We also migrated 55,000 documents which provided comfort to stakeholders in knowing that they hadn’t lost the last four years of work.” explains the team at Aggreko.
Aggreko is now able to onboard new suppliers within two days in most cases and, for more complex suppliers, no more than 20 days.
On average, this is a 70% reduction in time spent onboarding suppliers evidenced in their responsive, accurate reporting dashboards, powered by Microsoft PowerBI via an API. The data is augmented with other critical information—another neat win!
Aggreko’s previous onboarding process consisted of over 200 questions and this was sent to every prospective supplier. Today that question set has been reduced to just 30-40 questions for the majority of suppliers due to the dynamism of the process, generating enormous time and efficiency savings across the 250+ stakeholders in procurement, finance, HSE, compliance and quality, as well as the 8,000+ suppliers.
It has become a genuine business success, not just procurement.
Technical functionality is not the whole story when it comes to ensuring a successful roll-out. Market Dojo migrated over 55,000 documents and 5,000+ suppliers’ information from the previous solution. Each question had to be individually mapped and tested for backward compatibility.
To further ensure a smooth launch and high rates of adoption, Market Dojo delivered training to all users, across multiple time zones, within two weeks. A ‘Live Chat’ feature is embedded in the tool for any buyer, approver or supplier to text-chat technical support in real-time via the tool.
How would Aggreko describe the roll-out and training by Market Dojo?
“The new system has been rolled out to 152 countries, across 12 regions, in 23 languages. The initial training sessions provided by Market Dojo were delivered immaculately and the online support and video training is an absolute game changer.”
“The capability of Market Dojo’s development team is the best I’ve ever worked with. Amazing!” says the team lead.
And their final words, “It’s an absolute pleasure to see this project be such a success. All in all, it’s been a great experience.”
Aggreko plc is the global leader in temporary power, heating and cooling systems. With over 100 locations across more than 30 countries. Aggreko supplies to a number of sectors including construction, manufacturing, oil & gas, facilities management and the events industry, amongst many others.