Supplier Management IT solutions for ESH

Sharma, Balu
(SupplierSoft, CA)

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As outsourcing increases, SEMI manufacturers are ever more dependent on their suppliers to ensure customer success. As a result, ESH professionals must increasingly collaborate with the suppliers to ensure that products comply with increasingly stringent regulations such as RoHS/REACH. Increasingly, companies are adopting CSR principles that tackle issues such as sustainability, GHG emissions and packaging of products. The Wal-mart Sustainability 360 is a prime example of such initiatives. Despite these changes, ESH professionals still use manual processes such as paper, e-mail, spreadsheets and word documents to collaborate with suppliers. As per a recent Aberdeen survey, 75% of supplier interaction still happens manually. Frequently, ESH requires multiple departments working with suppliers. As a result, companies have no central visibility into the ESH efforts that involve suppliers. The business impact includes operational inefficiencies leading to higher costs, along with increased supplier risks associated with quality, compliance and time-to-market. Over the last few years, comprehensive Supplier Management Platforms (SMP) have evolved that enable companies to flexibly manage all aspects of their supplier collaboration. These platforms can help companies provide a 360 degree view of supplier interaction across various functional departments such as ESH, Quality, Procurement and Engineering. These platforms are flexible enough to enable companies to automate any interaction that currently involves use desk top tools. Specifically for ESH professionals, these platforms can help automate following sample processes: • Collect Supplier Certifications such as ISO 9001/14001 and OSHAS 18001. • Survey suppliers through on-line ESH questionnaires • Track ESH supplier contacts • Collect part and chemical level compliance (RoHS/REACH) information. • Manage supplier ESH audits • Manage supplier corrective action • Ensure information stays accurate through expiration driven reminders • Manage ESH projects that involve tens and hundreds of suppliers • Enforce ESH business processes • Provide real time visibility through dashboards and reports. Besides improving productivity, these platforms help companies reduce ESH compliance risk, improve supplier quality and help companies market ESH as a differentiator. Some SMP vendors offer Software as a Service (SaaS) model where is the software is accessed through the web-browser over internet (similar to Google). This eliminates the need for installing the software inside the company and eliminates IT resource requirements. SaaS solutions frequently offer free trails. Subscription models vary from monthly to annual contracts and are usually based upon the number of users accessing the application. As a result, these applications can reduce your upfront investment and the risk of failure.

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