Identifying the Right Supplier

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Matchmaking is one of the oldest professions and transcends multiple cultures around the world. Thanks to sites like and eHarmony, matchmaking has experienced a resurgence. Much like a traditional matchmaker, these dating sites use the information collected from singles to identify likely love matches.

So what does matchmaking have to do with business? Plenty if you’re responsible for sourcing or sales at your company. David Landsman is a sourcing expert at Ariba. His team advises companies who are searching for suppliers as well as suppliers who are searching for new sales opportunities at Ariba Discovery. As part of our #CloudLove series, I asked David a few questions about the hurdles and successes with finding the perfect business match.

David, what hurdles do companies face with sourcing new suppliers?

In today’s marketplace, there’s an assortment of challenges that companies encounter:

  • Lack of visibility within their supply chains to understand what risks exist
  • Inability to quickly adjust during supply chain disruptions, such as storms, or suppliers suddenly closing shop
  • Skilled team members to manage the resource-intensive nature of sourcing
  • Inflexible processes that don’t enable the organization to take advantage of cost savings available with new suppliers

Supplier instability is a big issue – 68% of supply chain disruptions are due to supplier insolvency. Understanding your suppliers’ (and their suppliers) ability to fulfill your requirements is essential to supporting business operations. No one wants to shut down a manufacturing line because the supplier can’t deliver the critical part.

Next page: Examples of matchmaking success stories

What traits do companies love most about marketplace platforms like Ariba Discovery?

There’s a lot that sourcing professionals and sales managers embrace about marketplaces. For sourcing teams, they can tap into open capacity of products, get multiple bids, and create real-time benchmarks on commodity pricing. Marketplaces offer great flexibility for a variety of sourcing efforts – whether it’s strategic buying for difficult-to-source items or spot buying for one-off tactical purchases. For emergency situations, marketplaces help buyers quickly locate suppliers available to meet urgent business needs.

Sales professionals also love the advantages of marketplaces. They offer an easy resource to find qualified leads that’s faster and cheaper than traditional lead generation activities like sales calls and trade shows. For small business that aren’t equipped to immediately respond to qualified leads, there’s the Ariba Discovery Advantage Plus Program, which offers consulting support to help sales teams optimize their participation at Ariba Discovery.

Entertainment and fundraising events: a match made in heaven

What are your favorite matchmaking success stories?

Caesars Entertainment has a great story about how it found a local diversity supplier to provide CO2 and other industrial gases for its property in Cincinnati. My team is currently working with a large non-profit who is taking advantage of Ariba Discovery to find staging, lighting, tent, and A/V suppliers for thousands of fundraising events it hosts across the U.S.

Next page: Further success stories: Koozoo and MarkMaster

Marketplaces like Ariba Discovery are not just for big companies. A San Francisco-based start-up, Koozoo, used Ariba Discovery to reduce its manufacturing costs by 95%. It was able to find qualified suppliers who offered the flexibility and collaboration that a start-up business needs. One the sales side, companies like MarkMaster have boosted their business growth and captured significant sales from Ariba Discovery. MarkMaster CEO Kevin Govin states Ariba Discovery accounts for 80% of the company’s business orders and it has experienced 10% or more growth per year. These gains were achieved with minimal IT or business-processing spend.

Finding your match with Ariba Discovery

To read more about how companies are finding their perfect match with Ariba Discovery, check out the blog posts at Ariba Exchange. To get a snapshot of the daily volume of new lead activity generated at Ariba Discovery, follow @AribaDiscovery on Twitter.

Want to stay connected to the latest in sourcing and manufacturing business trends? Follow David on Twitter @SourcingDavid.

Follow Debbie on Twitter at @DebCM.

The story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends