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Supplier Intelligence Can Be A Competitive Advantage

Supplier Intelligence Can Be A Competitive Advantage

Jan. 23, 2023
“Most companies don’t know how to interact with data,” says Scoutbee CEO Gregor Stühler. But using an AI-driven platform can help locate less well-known supplier sources.

As the pandemic has taught companies, relying on the same suppliers can lead to losses when the system is strained. But what if a company could find alternative sources regardless of the current economic situation?

That’s exactly the service that Scoutbee provides. Its CEO Gregor Stühler, relates the experience of one of his customers who were able to launch a new product, one that was in very short supply during the pandemic, because Scoutbee was able to find suppliers for that company that was not as well-known. His company delivers an AI powered supplier intelligence and discovery platform.

“Supplier intelligence helps a company make fast and confident decisions related to its supply base and finds new suppliers because they are able to better interact with and leverage data, both internal and external. Companies get a clearer picture of where and how to make supply base improvements” explains Stühler.

Knowing how to use data is key and not something that every company is able to do. Again, using the pandemic as an example, Stühler explained that the World Health Organization had data available, free of charge, which predicted which areas, down to specific zip codes, might go into lockdown. “Companies using this would know exactly when they need to adjust inventory,” says Stühler. “But no one used the data and were left surprised when lockdowns occurred.”

Why did this happen? “Most companies don’t know how to interact with data,” Stühler says. “Our model uses the customer's own data and combines it with our own data, and data partners if needed, and then searches the globe to find alternative supplier sources. Using our propriety AI tool, we built a business application that can fit on top of all types of data which enables us to work with any system.”

In addition to economic conditions, sometimes political issues arise. For example, Scoutbee has been asked by companies to evaluate how dependent they are on particular countries, such as Russia.

Supplier Data Assisting in ESG Goals

In addition to finding alternative suppliers the data Scoutee delivers helps companies who are trying to improve the environmental practices in their supplier network. Transparency into supply chains has been a particular challenge but one that AI can address. Stühler notes that having transparency into Tier 1 and Tier 2 is possible, but it’s much harder to get past those levels.

However, data can help the larger ESG perspective as metrics move beyond compliance and become more proactive. For example, the standards in the U.S. are less rigorous currently than in Europe. It would be a smart strategy for a company to beyond what is required in their own country and have a global perspective. “Having this data could be a differentiator for companies so that ESG can be viewed not as simple compliance but instead be part of a company’s value proposition,” he says.

When investing in this type of data, whether it is for product development or general transparency, it’s important not to be siloed in terms of the information. Gathering many data streams and creating a simplified ecosystem that is resilient, as opposed to a dataset that just provides information about one issue, is essential. “Resilience to me is being faster and smarter than your competition. This will determine how much market share you will win or lose,” says Stühler. However, at the end of the day, Stühler’s company has a larger view as is evident by its motto -- “Better Data. Better Decisions. Better World.”