- The Audi Group is among the world’s leading producers of premium cars
- Audi stands for sporty vehicles, high build quality and progressive design – for “Progress through technology”
- For Audi, sustainability is synonymous with future viability
- Audi AG decided to move from diesel-driven industrial towing vehicles to more eco- friendly solutions
- Sourcing a highly complex industrial product: eco-friendly towing vehicles
- Finding new suppliers for a vehicle powered by an electric motor
- Screening a niche supplier market
- Evaluating possibly fitting vendors to negotiating and contracting
- Different supplier scouting approach in order to significantly shorten the lengthy procurement process.
- 57 potential suppliers for electric industrial towing vehicles on Longlist
- Within just 7 weeks, 7 suppliers made a proposal for the specific vehicle Audi AG was looking for
- Total time spent on this project by the responsible purchaser: 6 hours
- Screening 180 times more suppliers in a fraction of the time needed for conventional supplier scouting
Benefiting From Smarter Supplier Discovery
The event that kickstarted the collaboration between Audi and scoutbee dates back to the spring of 2017 – and it couldn’t have happened at a more iconic place for business innovations. A newly formed German startup company, scoutbee – represented by co-founders Gregor Stühler and Christian Heinrich – showcased their marketable supplier discovery suite at the Captivate Startup Pitch in Silicon Valley.
Little did they know that one particular attendee, the prestigious German automobile manufacturer Audi, was screening the startup environment for disruptive, tech-driven innovations. To a supplier-heavy corporation like Audi, scoutbee’s big data-backed supplier discovery suite was just what the doctor ordered.
Audi has always been one of the companies at the forefront of innovation. Therefore, choosing to optimize procurement processes with the help of AI seemed like the next big step in an industry that is not only massively competitive, but also thriving on new technologies.
The first supplier scouting cases
Conscious about their own principle “Vorsprung durch Technik” (advancing through technology), Audi quickly recognized the potential savings that would come with the use of AI in procurement, and scoutbee was ready to deliver.
“We saw that scoutbee had the potential to really simplify our global sourcing processes by providing a smarter supplier discovery, so we decided to use it to our advantage,” said Kathrin Schwinghammer, responsible for digital innovation at Audi. “Our aim is to embrace new technologies, and scoutbee was the disruptive force that our global sourcing operations would benefit from.”
Some months and dozens of successfully closed scouting cases later, Audi had already achieved significant cost savings. Throughout 2017, the car manufacturer had sourced a wide range of items from series- and drawing parts to complex systems and innovations via scoutbee.
However, Audi had not only achieved crucial material cost savings. One more significant benefit was the reduction of time spent on supplier scouting processes. On average, it took a strategic purchaser less than a full working day for a proposal of a new, fitting supplier. Moreover, scoutbee enabled Audi to continuously extend their supplier portfolio and therefore gain valuable insights into their supplier networks.