Streamlining & improving supplier onboarding and master data management processes

Context

BAE Systems wanted to streamline and improve their supplier onboarding and master data management processes. Their objective was to have one global environment that allowed local capability, and local workflow, where required.

BAE looked at their existing systems to see if they could be leveraged/expanded to meet the requirement, however, their main ERP (Oracle) was on-premise model and the cost of change was prohibitive. Their third party data provider (D&B) lacked workflow capability.

Key requirements for a new system was that it should be SaaS, and it had to handle global and local requirements concurrently.

Challenges

BAE have multiple ERP’s (SAP, Oracle, Costpoint) just in North America alone. For each ERP different processes were in place, which were not always compliant. Ongoing compliance checks were limited in nature and needed to be improved.

Furthermore, BAE have multiple people in multiple geographies, each with different requirements. This meant that a full process harmonisation was not possible, or practical, even if it was desirable.

The third key challenge was that each BAE business sector wanted full autonomy over their suppliers. Any new system had to satisfy the ability for sector level authorisation and management, as well as global authorisation and management.

The Solution

BAE selected HICX to be the single source of truth for all supplier related information, and the starting point for onboarding all new suppliers

Suppliers register through the HICX supplier portal, which is available on the internet, for suppliers to access. After their initial registration the portal allows suppliers to maintain their information for any future changes.

The information which is collected through the system is routed to different groups within BAE System to review and validate the data.

Data which is considered global, is managed and approved through a central group, otherwise the ownership of approving suppliers, and compliance information, remains with the sectors.

Once information has been appropriately reviewed/approved, supplier records are automatically updated in the appropriate ERP systems, this includes both new suppliers and updates to existing supplier records.

Learnings

BAE learned that the core issue was actually master data management. Once they realized what MDM was, and that they were not doing it, the starting point for the project was data structure. Once the data structure was established, they were able to create rules to onboard good data, and create rules to maintain good data.

Process definition is critical. BAE needed to define central and local processes, workflows, roles, responsibilities, authorization, change control, etc. Without a sophisticated MDM team, it is not possible to manually complete all processes so the application of system automation transformed the way the project team were able to approach digitizing processes.

Behavior and discipline determines success. BAE learned that if you want success, behavioral change must take root both inside and outside of technology.

Post deployment, BAE realised they were asking too many questions of their supply base. They then rationalised information requests from across the business to establish what is really needed and asked 4 questions; do we need this data to search, meet policy needs, meet legislature, make a decision? If answer is no, don’t gather it.

The final learning theme was around data quality. BAE learned that for success you must have resources to support ongoing data changes (i.e. in US, W9 review by global or local data stewards). There is a role to be played up front to avoid inevitable rework downstream which is far more expensive. Confidence in data drives or undermines the adoption of a system – devote resource to drive data quality.

Benefits

HICX solution has helped BAE Systems to:

  • Apply a consistent process for onboarding new suppliers, ensuring timely collection of the required documents and information, electronically from suppliers;
  • Streamline their workflows for reviewing and approving new suppliers, and the relevant documentation;
  • Automatically track and alert BAE Systems, and suppliers, of required document and information updates;
  • Provide a central repository of all potential and current supplier’s, as well as all the related documents and information;
  • Provide an enablement platform for collaborating with suppliers on a variety of custom processes, such as ad-hoc surveys, communication with suppliers, etc.

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