A World without Expos - How can I still find the best supplier?


A World without Expos - How can I still find the best supplier?

The answer: an AI-driven, supplier insights platform that provides the broadest overview of optimal supplier options. We chat to Marc Theeuwes, VP of Strategic Development at Jabil, about the value of better visibility through COVID-19, and beyond.

In the year before the pandemic, 32,000 trade shows were held worldwide, according to the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI). 4.5 million exhibitors and more than 300 million visitors came together to further develop and maintain their business relationships, or to find new business partners, personnel and, above all, new reliable suppliers.

Pandemic has brought procurement into focus

None of this could take place in 2020 due to the pandemic. Companies and their suppliers had to stay at home. Covid-19 brought international trade show and exhibition operations to a complete standstill. This has also put procurement in the spotlight. Finding reliable suppliers is a challenge even in normal times. In fact, it is indispensable for launching a new product on the market.

But how do procurement managers find new suppliers when they can no longer meet them at trade shows and exhibitions? And even though it is very likely that trade fairs will be held again after the pandemic: Can you really have a complete overview of potential suppliers there? And if so, are these suppliers also reliable?

Use of digital discovery tools has greatly accelerated

In a recent article, experts from McKinsey & Co write about the emerging business trend that pairs human expertise with an AI algorithm to radically improve the supplier-identification process, scanning millions of suppliers in a fraction of the time. They note how new tools can cut the time required to find the right suppliers by 90 percent or more.

Indeed, the pandemic has led to a sharp acceleration in the use of digital discovery tools that can help companies build resilient supply chains faster. With a platform like scoutbee, business owners have a greater view of where to find the right suppliers – and even better than at real trade shows. Because interesting suppliers are often not found there for quite banal reasons: Many of them cannot afford a booth in the middle of a hall due to their limited marketing budget – and are often overlooked for that reason alone.

“As things move forward, it’s going to accelerate the use of digital tools and the use of digital discovery tools.”
Marc Theeuwes, VP of Strategic Development at Jabil

The pandemic led many to question how they sourced vendor market data from suppliers in the past – and how reliable traditional methods of sourcing information were. scoutbee aims to overcome this imbalance and equips procurement teams with verified supplier market data needed for robust decision-making. AI-driven platforms like scoutbee now provide an objective view of all suitable suppliers in the global supplier landscape. Digital supplier search, in particular, offers great opportunities for strategic sourcing when decisions need to be made quickly and reliably. It helps tremendously to build resilience and unlock competitive opportunities.

Today often the larger marketing budgets are actually deciding if a supplier is discovered or not. We want to stop that by enabling decisions based on data.”
Gregor Stühler, scoutbee CEO and Co-Founder

scoutbee regularly speaks with experts around the world to learn and share the latest perspectives on how Smarter Supplier Discovery can best be applied to global industries. In this video, scoutbee CEO Gregor Stühler and Marc Theeuwes, VP of Strategic Development at Jabil, discuss how the pandemic has led to visibility challenges in the international supplier landscape, whether trade shows are still needed to find the best suppliers, and how digital discovery tools can help teams build resilient supply chains faster.

scoutbee works with multi national companies across a wide range of sectors to enhance second sourcing and conduct emergency scouting cases. To discuss your needs, do reach out to