Beroe: Powering Smarter Sourcing Decisions in Procurement

Beroe: Powering Smarter Sourcing Decisions in Procurement

Beroe Founder and CEO Vel Dhinagaravel explains how the company became a trusted source of intelligence and insights for procurement and supply chain profe

It would not be an exaggeration to say Beroe is solely focused on supporting the procurement and supply chain department and doesn’t deviate from this focus. 

Overall, this is achieved across three different dimensions: 

  • The markets from which companies purchase products and services
  • The suppliers with whom they engage
  • The supply chains that deliver goods and services to them.

Well placed to explain this tried and tested approach in greater detail is Vel Dhinagaravel, Founder and CEO at Beroe.

“From a market perspective, we try to give our customers a deep understanding of how the market is behaving, what's happening with capacity, what's happening with supply and demand, long-term market evolution, price movements and innovation,” says Vel. 

“From a supplier perspective, it’s about what's happening from a supplier health perspective – financial health and risks around ethics – but also, from a capability and capacity perspective, what's changing with that supplier.

“From a supply chain perspective, we help customers understand the entire value chain that's contributing to the delivery of products. It might not be their immediate supplier, but their second, third, fourth tiers and beyond. We try to help them visualise what’s happening and whether there are any constraints or issues in the value chain that might have a knock-on effect.”

Minimising surprises and maximising margins

At the heart of Beroe’s operations is a procurement productivity suite named Beroe LiVE.Ai – the platform through which the company engages with customers. 

Beroe LiVE.Ai has a total of 12 modules, each of which focuses on a specific pain point or information requirement.

Among the modules is a cost intelligence section focusing on helping firms understand the cost structure of their suppliers, while price intelligence assists them with pricing trends they should be anticipating in their purchases. 

Then there’s market intelligence, supplier risk, supplier discovery – the list goes on. 

Vel continues: “In the context of conversations internally, in terms of building their category strategy, in engaging with suppliers and other players in the overall market, you want to make sure procurement organisations are always one step ahead and have all the information they need at their fingertips to have the most robust strategy and minimise prices.

“Beroe LiVE.Ai contains all the tools procurement organisations need to be as informed as possible.

“Ultimately, our goal is to help procurement minimise surprises and maximise margin. Those are the two vectors on which we measure the value we deliver.”

Beroe: Enabling smarter sourcing decisions

Asked to expand on how Beroe is enabling clients to make smarter sourcing decisions, Vel believes one must go back to basics and examine the core focuses of procurement divisions. 

On the one hand is the entire process of building out category strategies, based on an understanding of the market, internal business requirements, the supplier base and more.

“There's a lot of work we do to help customers understand all those different dynamics so they can build the most durable category strategy possible, grounded in a deep understanding of the market and reflective of internal business needs, but also to anticipate risks and proactively think of mitigation steps,” says Vel. 

On the other hand there’s execution of the strategy, including strategic sourcing, renegotiations and a variety of additional activities. 

All in all, procurement organisations require a huge amount of data about their external environments and Beroe is on hand to provide coverage across 15 industries, including around 2,800 categories of direct and indirect spend. 

“All of those datasets are what we have collected and organised in a digital model with Beroe LiVE.Ai,” Vel adds. “Companies can easily access and link data to these two key workflows, whether it’s the strategy development or execution aspect.”

From analogue to digital

Plenty has changed in the procurement and supply chain space since Beroe was founded more than 17 years ago, with the sheer pace of decision-making surely topping the list. 

Vel highlights that, when the business was established, the average procurement organisation was taking almost a year to understand the market, obtain internal feedback and build out a category strategy. 

Now, he estimates the typical timeframe to be less than two months and, in fact, the pressure is to push things further to the point where strategies are updated in close to real-time. 

“There's definitely an increased expectation of velocity,” Vel goes on. “How we've responded at Beroe is to change our approach, delivery model and business model almost completely from where we started.”

For the first decade of its existence, Beroe would custom-build research for each individual customer. 

Each client would buy a certain amount of research capacity and provide a set of distinct questions to which they needed answers, before Beroe assigned analysts to work on the project and deliver a piece of work to help the client improve its operations. 

Vel refers to this working model as Beroe’s ‘analogue phase’, adding: “That was fine when decision-making was going at a certain pace. But what we recognised is that, as procurement moved towards dynamic, always-on, always-optimised category strategies, and as the need to deliver continuous competitive advantage increased, the need for information was continuous. 

“Today, the environment is that you need intelligence integrated into your workflow every day.”

To support this change, Beroe pivoted to a digital model by putting all its IP onto a platform with the intention of continuing to add additional content – which is how Beroe LiVE.Ai (previously Beroe LiVE) came into existence. 

Vel says: “We've really harnessed the power of technology to be much more meaningful, 

much more contextual and much more integrated with our customer decision-making.”

Prioritising data

AI is a significant area of focus and investment for Beroe, as demonstrated by its upgrade of Beroe LiVE to Beroe LiVE.Ai, with an AI bot named Abi at the heart of the platform. 

Vel reveals that, already, 60% of interactions between customers and Beroe’s content are going through Abi. This means communication is far more conversational than structured, with users able to ask questions as opposed to clicking through to certain dashboards. 

However, what’s going to be most critical moving forward is the datasets on top of which these AI engines are sitting. 

“Customers we work with want to have an edge over their suppliers,” Vel explains. “They want to know more and they want to know faster because, ultimately, the differentiation they can bring to their companies is by virtue of having a better, stronger, deeper and more complete understanding of the markets.”

The CEO contends that data about these markets comes in three forms:

  • Data available in the public domain published by suppliers, governments and other organisations.
  • Data in the ‘paid zone’, perhaps made available by specialist providers via a subscription model.
  • Data in the minds of suppliers and thought leaders. 

Beroe has invested heavily in the second element by bringing more than a thousand paid-for datasets into its data ecosystems, none of which are freely available via chatbots like ChatGPT or Gemini.

Of course, the difficult part is the third element: obtaining input from experts, suppliers and thought leaders from across the globe.

Beroe’s solution has been to create digital listening posts able to detect signals from participants in the supply chain in relation to key categories including supply and demand, price and supply health. 

“Those signals are super valuable because they give us the earliest visibility on changes in market trends,” Vel enthuses. “Anybody dependent on governmental data or public datasets is always going to be a couple of months behind.

“Creating this mechanism that helps us keep a pulse of what’s happening in the market, with all of its participants, is one of the most important tech investments we've made.”

Building a positive company culture

Undoubtedly, one of Vel’s key priorities as CEO at Beroe is to create and maintain a positive company culture, while ensuring other managers and decision-makers do the same.

His approach to leadership is centred on the notion that outcomes are what should be measured – rather than the number of hours employees are working.

“I really don’t mind too much about where people work and how many hours they’re putting in,” Vel elaborates. “Unfortunately, a lot of the world is still stuck in measuring input, but my personal belief is that flexibility is critical to today’s way of working.”

Focusing on outcomes has allowed Beroe to make a relatively seamless shift to remote working, with 80-85% of the workforce now doing so.

What’s more, it’s now seven years since the company became something of a pioneer by transitioning to a four-day working week. 

This followed a small experiment which detected a 20% increase in productivity despite a 20% cut to the number of hours being worked every week. 

“I think it's reflective of our recognition that it's ultimately not about the number of hours, but the quality of work or mental energy,” Vel concludes. “It won’t work for every industry or environment but, for us, where we’re primarily using our brains to deliver analysis, it seems to work well.

“We also have a culture of learning and pushing employees in a healthy way to take on challenges they may not have done in other jobs.

“I think the most important metric is that our attrition rates are the lowest in the industry. We’re very proud of the culture we’ve built.”


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