In this case study, Peter Retterer, former Senior Director, Global Indirect Procurement at Ascend Performance Materials, explains how an inability to easily implement modern technology into his organization’s processes led to a lack of procurement possibilities and missed opportunities. By implementing TealBook into their systems, they achieved increased commodity savings, better visibility to industry disruptors, and additional supplier discovery across various commodities.
The Story of Ascend Performance Materials
Based in Houston, Texas, and with regional offices in Shanghai, Brussels and Detroit, Ascend Performance Materials is a fully integrated material solutions provider with nine global manufacturing facilities in the United States, Europe, and China. Their 2,600-person global workforce makes the plastics, fabrics, fibers, and chemicals used to make safer vehicles, cleaner energy, better medical devices, smarter appliances, and longer-lasting apparel and consumer goods.
The Challenge of Traditional Sourcing Processes
A six-decades-old manufacturer of materials for technology and essentials, Ascend Performance Materials, was undergoing an organizational transformation. Their long-term values were always to exist for customers, keep one eye on the future, operate with safety, and invest in people and processes. A holistic transformation was needed to find a solution for internal operations and organizational structure that would stay true to their values with agility in mind.
Before technology could be implemented to assist procurement, structure, people, and processes all had to be part of the strategic roadmap. Traditional sourcing processes were being used, including using the same two or three suppliers based on existing and decades-old relationships. There was no process or technology in place that allowed the organization to gain visibility of industry disruptors or a real sense of the market.
Additionally, Ascend Performance Materials had a new invention. Their state-of-the-art material Acteev(TM) showed true potential as a breakthrough solution to end the fight against COVID-19. They needed additional access to suppliers that might use this fabric in their manufacturing facilities.
It would be impossible to implement technology that would be difficult to integrate with existing systems or that would require expert-level staff. The organization’s changing processes and potential required a solution that would be agile with the existing internal evolutions.
Why Ascend Performance Materials Chose TealBook
After coming across various platforms that were more passive in nature, meaning the individual suppliers had to sign up for the platform and manually update their own data, Peter Retterer loved that TealBook’s machine learning and AI automatically pulled in updated information on suppliers to provide them with refreshed, accurate data that gets better over time.
He also needed a way for his team to do their jobs easier and drive adoption through the tools they were using. TealBook’s usability and adaptability allowed his team to find relevant suppliers that would enhance Peter’s ability as a buyer of services. Since TealBook is a cloud-based data software, this was able to be done without the need for additional team members or advanced technology integrations.
Peter Retterer Former Senior Director, Global Indirect Procurement, Ascend Performance Materials“[The data] enriching itself means it’s always going to get better. That’s the thing I like: that you’ll never fall back, it’s always going to go forward.”
How TealBook Responded
TealBook provided Peter and his team with a supplier data foundation and spend reports that analyzed their current suppliers and spend to allow for better visibility and better relationships with their current and future vendors. They were able to analyze more bid tabs without the use of additional personnel, which helped them quickly achieve substantially higher savings through various commodities than their annual norm.
Peter Retterer and his team truly appreciated that TealBook allows for automatic enrichment of data. In speaking with TealBook’s team, he noted that he’s seen large companies make an effort to improve their supply chains and vendor masters, but the world changes, and those same companies don’t continuously update and refresh their data manually, leaving millions of dollars on the table.
In his own words, Peter felt TealBook “fundamentally takes away the fact that you don’t have to have someone enriching your own data. The fact that we don’t have to think about that and it’s enriching itself means it’s always going to get better. That’s the thing I like: that you’ll never fall back, it’s always going to go forward.”
Upon implementing TealBook, Peter and his team at Ascend Performance Materials saw an increase in commodity savings from 11% to 22% in various categories, substantially higher than average norms they’d seen in the past. They were also able to use TealBook’s supplier discovery tools to find up to 15 additional suppliers per commodity as well as increase visibility to industry disruptors. Additionally, they were able to find suppliers not only to buy from but to sell their new invention too, increasing diversification and overall profits.
By using TealBook to quickly create supplier searches instead of using outdated, manual methods, Ascend Performance Materials saved $190,000 and 238 workdays, all while achieving a 14% reduction in unique suppliers. Overall, the team was able to decrease spend, increase savings, and drive innovation once they began using TealBook as their supplier data foundation.
Unlock Unlimited Value with TealBook
TealBook leverages state-of-the-art machine learning concepts to deliver supplier data light years ahead of self-reported, manually collected and maintained data feeds. Unlike supplier data sources that repackage manually inputted data or depend on supplier self-reporting, Tealbook uses a 5-step process to gather and refine supplier data through AI and machine learning.