Small and medium sized manufacturing and service-related businesses have unique challenges in managing and evaluating existing global-based suppliers, or finding new suppliers on a timely basis. Lean budgets and headcount sometimes restricts the ability to be able to invest in highly sophisticated supplier relationship (SRM), strategic sourcing, or supplier intelligence software technology. There is often limited performance information available regarding privately held or emerging suppliers in low-cost regions of the world.
To address this need, a new cadre of web-based sites has been entering the market with a value proposition more attuned to SMB budgets. The most popular mega-site is Alibaba, based in China. The latest U.S. based entry is SupplierEvaluations.com, which launched its new services on October 1st.
Founder, Valery Zelixon, developed and launched this site based on his belief that the SMB segment is much underserved in its ability to find accurate and timely supplier evaluation data, particularly regarding suppliers organized as private companies or residing in emerging market geographies. Valery has 17 years of experience in the software industry, and was previously exposed to various frustrating aspects of finding accurate and timely supplier evaluation data, Sherry Gordon, a noted expert in enterprise measurement and performance improvement techniques, serves as a Senior Advisor to the site. Sherry is the author of the 2008 book, A Guide to Meaningful Metrics and Successful Results, and was previously the Vice President of Supplier Performance at SRM technology vendor Emptoris.
SupplierEvaluations is based on a self-helping principle of collecting and disseminating supplier performance evaluations based on a peer to peer community concept. Members profile and evaluate suppliers based on their particular experiences with the supplier, filling in a prescribed evaluation template. Each submission must then pass a validation process to insure fair representation as well as avoid potential fraudulent or malicious purpose. Once a profile is published, submitters earn benefits by either revenue sharing from the subsequent sale of that profile, or gain credits towards the purchase of other supplier evaluation reports.
Customers can sign-up for a free basic membership which upon registration, allows for submission of evaluations. Other evaluations reports involving other suppliers are offered either at list price, which is currently a very reasonable fee, or through built-up credits. There are three other paid membership levels, with membership levels ranging from $120 annually for a Silver membership, to $480 annually for Platinum membership. Each level provides higher discounts to individual evaluations. Memberships can also be paid with a credit card.
The keys to success for a community based supplier evaluations site such as SupplierEvaluations.com will be in its ability to populate a robust network of sharing participants and maintaining timely supplier evaluations. An affordable pricing model seems to lower the barriers for community involvement, but building community and industry-specific concentration will be the test for this new site.
Those of you who either check-out the features and benefits of this new site, or decide to participate in the site services, are welcomed to share your comments at the end of this posting.
Author’s Disclaimer: This author has received no financial or other monetary consideration from SupplierEvaluations.com, or its investors, related to the insertion of this blog posting.