SourceDay: unlocking the potential of the buyer-supplier ecosystem
The role of the supply chain and the supply chain professional is changing. As the global business landscape evolves in response to megatrends like increased customer centricity, closer buyer-supplier relationships and the staggering technological advancements of the fourth Industrial Revolution, more and more of the old silos and attitudes have come crashing down. Founded in 2013, procurement and logistics platform company SourceDay entered the space at exactly the right time. “It’s down to luck, hard work and timing. I think you can make your own luck to an extent, but the fortuitous timing of when we came to market has contributed significantly to our success,” says Tom Kieley, Co-Founder and CEO of SourceDay. “The digital transformation of the supply chain is real, and it’s creating roles that never existed before: the Digital Transformation Officer, the Chief Supply Chain Officer and the Chief Procurement Officer, that are specific to the discipline.”
Kieley founded SourceDay alongside manufacturing veteran Clint McRee, who became the company’s COO. “When he was in manufacturing, he used an ERP system,” explains Kieley. “That ERP system was continually telling the team their schedule, their plan, what they were going to build and when, but the challenge was that their supply chain was completely disconnected from that process.” With an education centered around supply chain management and logistics as well as experience working on software for companies like Dell, Kieley and McRee are well aware of the need for harmony on top of structurally firm foundations in order for the complex symphony that is the enterprise supply chain to operate smoothly.
The increased and ongoing integration of enterprise supply chains, both internally into their respective businesses and externally, with increasingly interconnected ecosystems of suppliers, buyers and customers is only serving to highlight the critical role that the discipline will play in driving profits and increasingly the sustainability of digital enterprises. And, in 2019, every enterprise expecting to survive past 2025 is digital. It is this interconnectedness that Kieley and SourceDay are aiming to help foster. From empowering companies to make full use of their supply chain management and procurement systems, to helping them build and maintain supplier relationships, the company is working tirelessly to be the value-creating glue that holds the supply chain ecosystem together.
“With his vision and our shared knowledge of those everyday pain points, we came together and built SourceDay,” recalls Kieley. “We bootstrapped it from the ground up. It’s been a long, exciting journey watching the platform grow into the original vision over the past few years.” Now, SourceDay provides a digital interface between a manufacturer’s ERP system and its suppliers, using proprietary software to automatically update the system in response to delivery dates, pricing, and quantity changes.
Currently though, Kieley notes, it is all too common for adoption to lag behind innovation. He believes that many of the pain points are created by a lack of trust in not only Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms, but the data that powers them. “We're still seeing mid-sized companies tiptoeing into new technologies. Part of that is probably caused by the fact when they bought their ERP system – which probably cost millions of dollars – they expected it to solve all their problems. That's just simply not the case,” explains Kieley. While all ERPs contain some elements of a mature resource planning engine, which informs procurement professionals what to buy based on stock level, inventory, customer sales, orders, building materials etc., Kieley maintains that, all too often, a key element is missing. “Your ERP is only as trustworthy or as accurate as the data you feed into it,” he says.
This is where SourceDay comes in. “We’re enabling the procurement team, the supply chain organization and others, to get real-time data from suppliers on their performance, from large scale orders down to a single part,” says Kieley. In elaborate manufacturing projects, the absence or delay of a single piece of metal can derail million dollar deals. SourceDay works to give companies visibility into their suppliers’ processes through trustworthy data that can then allow their ERP to function correctly. “By doing that, we're enabling the suppliers to perform at a higher level and be better suppliers to their customers,” says Kieley.
At the heart of SourceDay is an idea that, Kieley admits, the company often undersells. “We are a true multi-tenant platform. We're basically an ecosystem of all suppliers that service the customers that use SourceDay,” he says. “We enable a buyer to be more strategic. The actual role of buying in a manufacturing distribution organisation is really to find and contract and manage lead times from their supply chain and get the best prices, lead times and quality. Those things all too often fall by the wayside because buyers are chasing their tails trying to get suppliers to ship what they need to ship on time, which rarely happens.”
By bringing visibility to the buyer-supplier relationship, which creates trust in companies’ ERPs and added value, SourceDay is further growing and supporting the ecosystem of interdependencies that represents the modern supply chain. “Without visibility into your supply chain’s ability to meet its targets, you’re just guessing and hoping,” says Kieley. "Hope is not a strategy that’s very effective in the manufacturing world; you need to have a platform and data quality that is collaborative outside of the organization with your supply chain.
While manufacturing is currently SourceDay’s mainstay vertical, the company has plans to continue its impressive growth record, spreading out into other regions. After all, the digitization of the supply chain isn’t restricted to any one industry or market. “Last year, we grew our customer count by 56%. What we continue to see is that manufacturing really is our sweet spot. We're currently focused on North America, but we have customers in Europe and Asia, and I see those as markets where we're going to go more strategically in the next 18 months,” Kieley says. SourceDay focuses primarily on mid-market companies ($50mn to $1bn in revenue) and serves manufacturers across a multitude of industries, including aerospace, oil and gas, automotive, transportation, packaging, food and e-commerce retailers. “Anyone with a supply chain that is creating pain for their organization is a perfect fit for SourceDay,” he affirms.
Coming off the back of a $6.5mn funding round, which Kieley reveals will be used to grow the company’s leadership team, hire new engineers to work on production design and refine its go to market strategy. Looking to the future, he is confident in the role SourceDay has to play in the future of the global supply chain ecosystem. “In 2020, I see us continuing to expand in other markets in North America. Then, towards the end of 2020, we’ll focus on some global markets, as well. Most certainly, the company’s staff size will have doubled by this time next year. By 2025, we'll absolutely be in Europe and Asia as a go-to-market strategy,” he concludes. “Part of our core values is that we put our customers first, listen to them and build our roadmap according to their needs. The modern supply chain is inherently global, so we need to be where our customers and users are.”
For more information on all topics for Procurement, Supply Chain & Logistics - please take a look at the latest edition of Supply Chain Digital magazine.
EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs
The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.
Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years.
It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC.
The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn.
In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products.
Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers
- The dispute began in 2004
- Tariffs suspended for 5 years
- $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
- $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date
- 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended
Both sides welcome end to tariffs
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.
“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.
Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”.
The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."
This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.
Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”