Supplier Data 101

Top 5 reasons to focus on your supplier data: Insights from Americas Procurement Congress (APC)

By Connie Jensen

Reliable supplier data serves as the foundation for informed decision-making within procurement organizations. It enables procurement teams to confidently: 

  • Navigate the sourcing process
  • Manage supplier relationships effectively 
  • Fine tune category management strategies that align with organizational goals 

Without reliable data, the risk of making suboptimal decisions increases, potentially leading to inefficiencies and missed opportunities.

Drawing on insights from the recent fireside chat at Americas Procurement Congress between William Bagley, VP of Enterprise Supply Chain at Freddie Mac and Stephany Lapierre, Founder & CEO at TealBook, let’s delve into the top five reasons why organizations should prioritize their supplier data.

1. Serves as the foundation for strategic decision-making

Supplier data isn’t just a collection of information; it’s the backbone of operational integrity and decision-making. Bagley says, when it comes to making decisions based on data, you have to be sure your data is enriched and reliable, which isn’t usually the case when you’re using supplier portals for manual updates: “What you need is real-time data that’s actually updated so anybody can get it at a point in time. And suppliers are very motivated, particularly if you’re giving them a purchase order, to actually give you what you need, but they’re not necessarily in a good position to keep that updated.”

To solve the issue at Freddie Mac, Bagley and his team partnered with TealBook to enrich the supplier data already in his organization’s tools and systems. Since procurement is a department that produces data at Freddie Mac, Bagley knows it’s his responsibility to ensure the rest of the organization can rely upon said data. “My accountability and my commitment to the organization is that it would be the most accurate, the most quality data that we can provide,” says Bagley.

2. Enhances supplier diversity

One of the key aspects where reliable supplier data shines is in supporting supplier diversity initiatives. Organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of diversifying their supplier base, not only as a means to drive positive social impact but also to enhance innovation and resilience in their supply chains. Reliable data on diverse suppliers allows organizations to track and report on their progress towards diversity goals, identify new opportunities for increasing diversity, and ultimately, contribute to building a more inclusive and equitable business ecosystem. Knowing data is always changing, Freddie Mac relied on TealBook to ensure that the suppliers they deemed to be diverse were actually diverse, saving them time and resources on the manual checks and balances.

“When we started working with TealBook, that enrichment, some of that validation, making sure that the certifications were up to date and accurate, that these were truly diverse suppliers–we didn’t have to do that anymore,” says Bagley.

3. Data is always changing, so it needs to be validated

Supplier data is always changing, which is why it’s important to stay on top of it. Oftentimes, organizations get data from a third-party to enhance their supplier master data, but as Bagley warns, it can’t always be trusted. “You get data that you didn’t have, it comes into your organization, then you quarantine it, you check it, you double-check it. We don’t just put anything in our supplier master.” 

To combat that, Bagley mentions the concept of TealBook TrustScores, something Freddie Mac relies on. TrustScores are essentially confidence scores applied to each attribute gathered by TealBook’s Supplier Data Platform. Each attribute is ranked from “Very High” to “Low”, giving organizations the autonomy to decide what data to ingest based on their risk appetite. “We see that TrustScore, and for those that are high we may actually not spend as much time on and we may have it go directly into our supply master. But, for those that have low TrustScores, that’s where we begin to focus our time,” says Bagley. 

With supplier data validated in real-time, organizations can reallocate resources that would typically be used for double-checking data quality.

4. Puts a focus on data governance

Data governance and trust are foundational to leveraging supplier data effectively. Establishing robust data governance practices is essential for maintaining the integrity of data and building trust within the organization and with external stakeholders. “Part of my accountability and responsibility as a data producer is to make sure that data is accurate, make sure that data actually meets the needs of the consumer,” says Bagley.

When supplier data governance practices are in place, the organization is more likely to trust the data the procurement team is producing and creates a better reputation for the department within the organization. “There’s an incredible opportunity for procurement right now to actually take ownership of how we can make our vendor master more actionable and deliver data that’s not just for procurement., but for supply chains, finance, compliance, and third-party risk,” adds Stephany Lapierre, Founder & CEO of TealBook.

5. Can help accelerate AI adoption

Once your organization’s supplier data is trusted and reliable, it can open the door for the adoption of new technologies, like AI. Rich, reliable data helps AI algorithms identify cost-saving opportunities, assess supplier performance, and manage risks effectively. This enhances supply chain resilience, optimizes procurement processes, and sharpens sourcing strategies. Supplier data integrity directly impacts AI effectiveness, making procurement more data-driven and proactive.

The bottom line

As organizations navigate the complexities of the global supply chain, the ability to manage, enrich, and leverage high-quality supplier data becomes a key differentiator. Prioritizing data quality and leveraging the latest technological advancements allow organizations to unlock the full potential of procurement and have an impact on the organization as a whole.

Watch the full session with William Bagley and Stephany Lapierre to learn more:

Unleash procurement possibilities.

Whether you’re looking to maximize diversity spend, optimize supplier diversification, or identify emergency sourcing options, the best available supplier data makes all the difference.

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