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Buyer's Guide

by Daniel Harris,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: March 18, 2017

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) Software?
Common Features of SRM Software
Evaluating SRM Software

What Is Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) Software?

A contract between a supplier and its customer goes through many stages through its lifecycle. In order to remain competitive, organizations have to take special care in maintaining efficient and cost-effective partnerships with their partners. The only way to be certain that suppliers are holding up their end of the bargain is to consistently evaluate their performance, a difficult task made easier by SRM software. SRM systems help users keep suppliers on their toes by monitoring their operations and revealing poor performance.

Common Features of SRM Software

Like customer relationship management (CRM) software, SRM is designed to manage relationships from initial contact and throughout ongoing purchasing cycles. However, since you’re managing supplier information, rather than customer information, the data has markedly different focus, including material databases, ratings and more.

Specific SRM features include:

Performance assessments SRM programs will allow the user to utilize key performance indicators (KPI) to perform quality assessments and a thorough awareness of deviations.
Risk assessments Scorecards enable supplier segmentation by user-defined risk variables, helping determine which partners present the least risk in the most important areas.
Centralized sourcing & collaboration SRMs use a centralized information database to streamline bidding, consolidate and distribute contracts, track compliance and improve collaboration.
Regulation compliance High-quality SRMs use rules engines and compliance scorecards to reduce the burden and improve the success of compliance protocols.

Evaluating SRM Software

Global economic trends have had a direct affect on the SRM software market. Over the last few years, more organizations have turned to SRM software to establish new ways to reduce spending and limit risk. In order to maximize supplier performance and get the most out of their spending, organizations are using SRM systems to build informed reports that will give them the advantage during contract evaluation and renegotiation. Meanwhile, the necessity of international relationships has stretched supply chains across the world, and many SRM vendors have improved the functionality of their system to keep up with this trend.

The process of evaluating and mitigating risk has to be more thorough than ever. By assisting users with escalation scenarios and other risk analyses, SRM systems will help users deal with the unforeseen problems of global trade. When selecting your SRM software, ask the following questions:

  • Is your organization looking for an on-premise, client/server deployment, or are you interested in the capabilities offered by web-based or cloud deployments?
  • Will the system allow you to compare supplier performances using your own set of weighted variables?
  • Does the system offer the necessary functionality to meet the unique needs of your organization? For example, can it monitor supplier compliance for the specific regulations that your industry deals with?
  • Will the system’s capabilities support your existing corporate frameworks for managing supplier relationships?

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