Customer Story

Financial services company saves 25 work weeks annually by automating supplier reviews

This financial services company has partnered with financial institutions for more than 40 years to provide insurance tracking services for vehicle and mortgage loans, GAP insurance, and over 150 other valuable products and services. 

Before partnering with Graphite Connect, this company spent countless hours onboarding and managing hundreds of suppliers. With Graphite, the company simplified and automated their supplier review process. 

Ultimately, Graphite became much more than just an intake system for this company. With Graphite’s procurement tools, the companyh is able to implement automation that reduces time wasted on emails and manual follow-up, as well as manage vendor data and reminders that assist the team with staying compliant with their supplier management policy. 

Where they started

When the 2nd Vice President of Strategic Sourcing, joined the company, there was no historic strategic sourcing department. They immediately saw the opportunity to properly position the company with its suppliers. 

As the new 2nd Vice President of Strategic Sourcing built out a more solid understanding of the company’s relationship with suppliers and the associated contracts, they also saw the need to standardize supplier onboarding.

The company’s onboarding process previously consisted of many disconnected systems. Most employees didn’t know where to start a new supplier engagement, and systems’ functions were not at all connected to the supplier onboarding process, leaving the procurement team to onboard suppliers manually.

Communication between employees and suppliers was also manual and took far too much of time. Back-and-forth emails answering questions and collecting data weren’t an efficient use of time or resources, and without a central document repository, it was difficult to keep contracts and documentation organized.

For the company, there was no easy way to track the necessary recurring due diligence for each supplier. While juggling hundreds of suppliers, it was easy for the team to lose track of important dates and information and risk inadvertently falling out of alignment with their supplier management policy.

With these issues in mind, the new 2nd Vice Presidnt of Strategic Sourcing began vetting possible solutions to improve the company’s due diligence and supplier onboarding processes. Graphite immediately stood out because of the possibilities it brought with time-saving automation and thorough risk assessment. 

The company’s information security team had a very detailed and complex system of operations to keep things running. In order to improve those due diligence processes, they needed to fully embrace Graphite. At first, much of the team was skeptical because they did not see how Graphite’s vendor management solutions would keep up with the complexity of their needs. However, as soon as the team realized that Graphite would not replace their existing processes but rather simplify those processes and eliminate the slow, manual tasks from their workload, they were 100% on board.

Where they are now

Unified systems

The company’s once-disconnected systems are now part of a seamless supplier onboarding process, powered and connected by Graphite Connect. Graphite centralizes the company’s processes and data, so projects are easy to follow and don’t require jumping from one procurement system to the next.

Internal employees now know exactly where to go in order to begin a new supplier request, and the procurement team can immediately identify where each supplier is in their onboarding process and easily access and share necessary communication and data.

The company recently implemented Oracle Cloud Financials as their new ERP system. Graphite seamlessly integrates with the ERP to act as the sole source for creating new supplier records. Because of this integration, the AP team no longer has to manually enter suppliers into the ERP. When a supplier updates their Graphite Connect network profile, Graphite syncs those updates directly to the ERP, and the team knows that their data is always accurate and up to date.

This supplier data automation relieves pressure from the AP team, eliminates time spent on manual entry, prevents manual errors, and puts the responsibility for data updates into the suppliers’ hands. This approach ensures supplier data remains central, current, and free from error. 

Saving valuable time

Graphite’s automated supplier onboarding & support approach ultimately saves each of the company’s InfoSec team members two hours per supplier review. For a company that not only performs new supplier reviews but also requires continuous refreshes and reviews of current suppliers, that becomes hundreds and hundreds of hours saved – the InfoSec team estimates that they alone could save up to 1,000 hours per year, (nearly six months of work for a single employee).

– 2nd VP, Strategic Sourcing

Security is essential for this company, and manually checking all suppliers’ security and due diligence are constantly up to date was extremely time-consuming. Graphite saves time by automating due diligence and supplier risk evaluations. When suppliers are ready to connect with the company, Graphite scores their risk and due diligence information and alerts the company’s team if a supplier’s risk is too high. 

When suppliers update their profiles in Graphite Connect, the company has access to the updated information immediately. This eliminates the need for back-and-forth conversations and takes the stress off the procurement team. Graphite also sends the team automated reminders to let them know when they need to review a supplier’s data or remediate increased risk.

Graphite manages communication with suppliers to get these due diligence steps completed, removing mundane and time-consuming tasks (like asking for updated documents) and allowing the company’s team to take a more hands-off approach. The team has complete control over the review process without having to send a single email.

– VP, Strategic Sourcing

Automating the supplier onboarding process has enabled the company to update and manage all supplier contracts, achieving thorough due diligence for new and recurring suppliers. And they can do it all in a central location and timely manner.

Standardized supplier onboarding

The other important change that Graphite’s procurement software made for the company was to standardize the supplier onboarding process. With such a small strategic sourcing team, negotiations and contracts had to be distributed throughout the organization, outside of just the procurement team.

This wasn’t an ideal scenario, and it needed to change. By implementing Graphite, working with procurement was made simple and easy. 

The company has a new supplier justification form housed inside Graphite Connect and accessible through single sign-on, making it easy for all stakeholders to access. Once the stakeholder is logged in, they can easily begin the process of requesting a new supplier purchase.

Utilizing this feature enables procurement to be involved in a much greater percentage of supplier onboarding, taking work off of other employees and increasing spend under management. Additionally, visibility into the onboarding process has increased exponentially. Instead of projects living in personal email streams, Graphite grants stakeholders visibility to easily observe the progress of their requests. 

Beyond alleviating stress from the procurement team, this new approach has encouraged employees to see what suppliers the company is already working with. Instead of immediately seeking a new supplier, stakeholders have begun to ask about suppliers already working with the company that can fulfill their needs, resulting in opportunities to consolidate business and increase savings. 

Another perk of the new-and-improved onboarding process is access to actionable details from suppliers. Suppliers are able to share a much higher level of detailed information because they only have to update a single profile; those updates are then automatically distributed to each of their customers. Many suppliers love Graphite because of this simple, yet powerful solution.

Additionally, this company no longer needs to manually email suppliers when they need to gather more specific information. When suppliers connect with the company in Graphite, Graphite auto-assesses the supplier for different risk levels, and requests from the supplier any new information the company needs based on the given criteria.

Greater reporting and tracking

Because the company’s team is now able to keep their most current and up-to-date contracts in Graphite, they can stay ahead of renewal dates much easier. This is important for the company because it gives the team advance notice for expiring contracts, giving them time to select which contracts they want to renew.

In other words, the company is able to implement a supplier strategy. This is a massive advantage to the company; the team is able to save money, remove expensive or risky suppliers, and anticipate every renewal date. 

Graphite also allows the company to expand its supplier diversity tracking and other goal-oriented data collection during the onboarding process. With the ability to track the diversity metrics of suppliers, the company is able to take steps toward diversity goals in ways it could not before Graphite.

The ability to track diversity, environmental performance, and other impactful supplier metrics within Graphite allows businesses like this company to take steps toward their greater procurement goals and stay in line with important government regulations. With greater reporting and tracking capabilities, the company is armed to make important strategic decisions and track their success more thoroughly than ever before.

What’s next?

The changes that the company has achieved with Graphite have been impressive enough to capture the attention of senior leaders in the company. Procurement has become one of the most exciting areas of growth and change for the business. 

The company has even been able to begin implementing policies such as a supplier diversity policy that has also seen major buy-in from senior leadership and other stakeholders. Procurement has become a department to look up to– saving the company substantial time and money and becoming more progressive in its aspirations.

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