Benefiting From Smarter Supplier Discovery
For over 2 years, I’ve been looking into technology that helps transform our day-to-day procurement processes into actual strategic work” says Heiko Braitmaier, CPO of German cleaning device manufacturer Kärcher. “In that regard, scoutbee’s AI-driven supplier discovery has really brought our buying processes to a new level.”
A couple of months earlier, Braitmaier had learned about scoutbee at a German technology event. As a tech-savvy leader, he was intrigued by scoutbee’s technology and wanted to test its abilities. Not only to make procurement more strategic – but also to evaluate possible time and cost savings that could come through effortless scouting of global suppliers and benchmarking the company’s portfolio.
Fast processes with scoutbee’s supplier discovery
“Nowadays, it’s all about speed. You have to stay quick and agile in order to react and adjust to challenges like the ones we’re facing now,” he says, hinting at the COVID-19 pandemic that peaked right around the time when Kärcher sourced new suppliers with scoutbee. “In procurement, it’s safe to say you have to run a lot more sprints than marathons these days.”
Kärcher’s supplier scouting projects with scoutbee were indeed sprints. The company decided to find suppliers for two commodities, sourcing vendors for numerous different materials, among them motors, injection molding pieces and chemicals. scoutbee was swift to deliver and provided most of them within a few weeks. The supplier scouting for chemicals, for instance, was completed within 6 weeks from kickoff to RFP. Therefore, scoutbee enabled Kärcher to quickly discover new suppliers and ensure supplier scouting is now a lean, effortless process that frees up a significant amount of time and resources.
The competitive advantages go beyond savings
Savings, however, is not the only benefit Kärcher receives out of its supplier scouting projects with scoutbee. With second-source suppliers for all desired commodities at his fingertips, Braitmaier has now achieved something in the middle of a global pandemic that he values even more than cost savings – maintaining supply for Kärcher products. “It’s baffling how many companies still only prioritize cost savings and not the ability to maintain supply. We have gained market shares simply because we were able to get backup suppliers in different countries and therefore keep manufacturing our products,” he says. Consequently, scoutbee helps mitigate risk by delivering second-source suppliers rapidly in geographical regions Kärcher has prioritized.
In total, scoutbee has found over 4000 suppliers for Kärcher’s numerous categories, of which 500 went into shortlists. Amazed with the enormous speed of scoutbee’s supplier search, the company realized that the traditional scouting process the company used for several years is no longer best practice. “scoutbee really struck a chord with its solution. It’s tackling one of the biggest pain points in procurement today, and one we can now better overcome,” says Braitmaier.
Transform procurement with scoutbee
Unsurprisingly, the company plans to continue scouting suppliers with scoutbee. Kärcher is ready to transform procurement into a more total value-driven and less operational function, and scoutbee’s software is playing a significant role in that evolution.
Asked if he would recommend the software to fellow CPOs, he concludes: “With scoutbee, you can sustainably and strategically improve your supplier portfolio, and that’s more valuable than ever today. We should all take the risk and benchmark our suppliers to see whether or not we’re competitive enough. Because I am certain that at the end of the day, that’s going to turn procurement into the strategic function it needs to be.”