SirionLabs, Empowering True Collaboration and Partnership
SirionLabs’ CLM solution connects all enterprise teams on a single, easy-to-use platform and delivers real-time insights across the contracting lifecycle for improved risk control, operational resilience and accelerated growth. Bringing a host of benefits, both to the hard and soft sides of contracts and procurement. The setting of baselines and leveraging of the valuable data that lays within contracts after they’ve been signed allows for a fair and democratic process where true collaborations and partnerships can be nourished and mined for further opportunity.
Ajay Agrawal, CEO & Co-Founder of SirionLabs, shares how the alignment of values and the power of CLM have made for an effective partnership with Vodafone. “We believe in the power of cost savings and superior customer experience, and therein lies the synergy between our organisations. What started out as a post-signature value realisation exercise back in 2016 has since grown into a full suite CLM solution encompassing customised pre-signature features to cater to local markets spread over more than 40 countries. Nothing gives me greater happiness than a customer who has been able to gain increased visibility and get a tighter grip over their contracts.”
“Vodafone has today around 2000 strategic supplier contracts managed through SirionLabs, which oversee a spend of close to 6 billion euros annually. Through our initial discussions, we saw great potential in addressing Vodafone's commercial engagements, tracking and realising value at scale through a myriad of systems that were retrofitted to suit existing infrastructure.”
“Our four-way automated invoice matching solution has contributed to Vodafone’s bottom line, enabling them to save hundreds of millions of dollars. It has also reduced the friction in their supplier landscape, from missed commitments or complaints to disputes or disagreements. Automation also reaps many benefits and has enabled Vodafone to cut costs in contract management and supplier governance by more than 60%, reducing manual effort by almost 50% and generating further savings through reduced headcount cost. Post signature activities have also become smoother and a lot more efficient, with one enterprise contract repository across all suppliers and managing them according to their footprint.”
The effects of the global pandemic and the need for sustainability and innovation have brought to light the need for collaborative partnerships. By leveraging AI and extracting valuable data, SirionLabs’ CLM solution empowers collaboration and continued cooperation and partnership long after contracts have been signed.
Agrawal explains, “Collaboration is essential to any partnership. That is really the heart and soul of any SirionLabs project. Unlike many conventional contract management systems that create, store, and maybe extract information from contracts, SirionLabs is unique because it allows both the contracting parties to have continued access to the system, even after the contract is signed while giving a single, consolidated view of data, further enhanced by rich dashboards and insights which help make quick business decisions. The purpose of that continued access is true collaboration, across multiple business functions.”
Over 3000 Vodafone users log into the SirlionLabs platform, spanning from sourcing, procurement, contract management, technology, finance, and legal. SirionLabs has also held multiple workshops which helped Vodafone stakeholders collaboratively monitor obligations and service levels across strategic contracts with thousands of vendors.
Agrawal highlights the criticalness of AI in mitigating risk, safeguarding profits and managing supplier performance.
“Expectation baselining: This is the notion that logging into the same platform after the signing of a contract allows you to continue to remain in agreement on what each one of us is supposed to do. And this is what we believe true contract performance management really is. Capturing and measuring KPIs, presenting them through digestible chunks of data, and insightful reports have also become possible after lots of brainstorming. Today, Vodafone is at a stage where predictive intelligence has kicked in, and they're able to predict contract failures proactively as well.”
“One of the most important features of our relationship with Vodafone is the ability to cut across the conventional boundaries of contract creation and storage and be able to integrate with their other enterprise systems. This has allowed us to generate value for them in a way that would not be possible without these systems interoperating with each other, without the use of artificial intelligence.”
QR technology: The Bridge to a Sustainable Fashion Industry
As one of the top polluting industries, Sara Swenson, Global Senior Manager Sustainability at Avery Dennison explains “there's debate whether it's the third, fourth or fifth most polluting industry, but it's generally well known that about 4% of global carbon emissions and about 20% of water pollution comes from the fashion supply chain. So obviously it’s massive. On the US side, we dispose of about 70 pounds, which is about 30 to 32 kilogrammes clothes every year. So it's a growing impact that has dramatically started impacting the world.”
Could Technology be the Answer to Sustainability Challenges?
Year after year, over 100 billion new garments are made, with US$450bn worth of textiles thrown away around the world. The emergence of a ‘fast fashion’ society has resulted in the average person not only buying 60% more clothes than in 2000 but also discarding more. On average, a family in the Western World throws away 30kg of clothing a year, with only 15% being recycled or donated.
“Over the past 20 years, environmental issues have ramped up and ‘fast fashion’ is partly to blame,” says Swenson. “Fast fashion has changed the mindset of how quickly styles and consumers want to update their clothing lines. But over the past 20 years, consumers purchased about 60% more clothes than we did in 2000 and we're not circulating those materials back in. They're really going in a linear fashion: take, make and waste out.
“We've really switched from having high quality garments to lower quality, more plastic based garments, and out of those that are manufactured every year, about 30% are just overstocked, they're never even sold. So there's all these waste stitches along the supply chain that need to be figured out, and then the recirculation of those raw materials back into the supply chain. None of that's happening with fast fashion, because everything is done so quickly and consumers want new products so much faster than ever before.”
Adopting a circular economy approach, instead of a linear one can help the fashion industry to become more sustainable. “A Circular economy is really about designing out that waste and pollution that I was talking about within the supply chain, and then keeping those products and materials in use for as long as possible, and then regenerating them back into the supply chain at the end of their life,” says Swenson who strongly believes that this is important to do, “because A: we all know the risks to the environmental factors, and then B: customers and consumers want us to solve these problems. We're getting more and more educated consumers that are willing to dive into the data. Brands are no longer able to greenwash and say, ‘Hey, we're doing something sustainable’, they actually have to prove they’re doing something sustainable with the data that backs it up or approves it.”
Mobile Technology: The Future of Sustainable, Transparent and Ethical Fashion
With 60% of consumers valuing brands that are transparent about their operations, fashion brands are turning to mobile technology such as QR Codes and NFC tags to provide their customers with end-to-end information on the product they have purchased from raw materials and production, right through to distribution and beyond.
“Technology is probably going to be the easiest way to create data to show that brands are making more sustainable actions, that they are not just greenwashing their sustainability progress. It also gives supply chain stakeholders the right to ask questions and engage, as well as consumers to understand ‘if you make this choice in how you're going to dispose of our garments, this is going to be your environmental impact. So it provides the right data that's available to both the consumer and the brand and other stakeholders to make those choices,” says Swenson.
“Right now we're asking stakeholders to make choices without data and without an easy solution. Consumers are not going to go through extensive links to find the right recycler, or find the right reseller. But if that information is at the tip of their fingers, on the garments that they can access, then they're much more likely to make those appropriate environmental decisions as well.”
With it still being legislation to have physical care and contents information written on a garment, Swenson adds that “many brands are now adding a QR code with information such as how to better wash your garment, how to take care of it so that it has a longer life, the benefits of high quality garments that you want to dispose of, but is still good quality to resell, how to brand authenticate it, and then how it can be recycled at its end of life.”
Whilst Swenson explains that “labels are by no means the solution that is going to solve everything in the apparel supply chain, it is the place that most people go to find more information on their environment.”
Fashion brands adopting QR and NFC technology include PANGAIA, Sheep Inc., and Skopes.
In May 2021, materials science company - PANGAIA - partnered with EON to create ‘digital passports’ for its products. The lifestyle products brand uses QR code technology to accelerate greater transparency, traceability and circularity in the fashion industry, inspiring responsible consumer choices.
QR codes are printed directly onto the care labels unlocking a bespoke digital experience when scanned with a mobile phone. The experience takes the customer on a journey from the product's origin through to purchase, dyeing, production, distribution, transportation and aftercare.
The digitalisation of this experience allows customers to be updated in real-time, bridging the gap towards a full circular model, providing authenticity and visibility of lifecycle data.
Also partnering with EON, Sheep Inc. - the world’s first carbon-negative fashion brand - is leveraging a bio-based NFC tag that provides each customer with a unique ID to trace and discover their product's supply chain journey.
The knitwear company leverages this technology to communicate with their customers the product’s carbon footprint at each stage of its supply chain journey from raw materials to manufacturing, distribution, and approximate usage.
“Finding out how well or badly a brand has behaved shouldn’t have to turn into an exploratory mission. It should be instantly visible when you go to buy a garment.” commented Edzard van der Wyck, CEO and Co-Founder of Sheep Inc., on the partnership. “We need to get to the stage where brands give customers the full, non-redacted picture of the journey and the impact behind the things they buy.”
In 2020, Leeds-based brand - Skopes - coincided with the launch of its first sustainably sourced suit collection - made using plastic bottles - with its use of care labels with QR codes allowing customers to see exactly how and where their suits are made.
“We are really keen to reduce our environmental impact and have developed this collection diligently with Lyfcycle over the past 18 months,” commented Nick McGlynn, head of buying at Skopes, on the launch. “The aim with Lyfcycle is to create a fully self-sufficient, transparent loop of sustainable and traceable sourcing, production and delivery,” adds McGlynn.
Concluding on the future for this technology Swenson says, “the industry has made huge strides, and I think with technology and the availability of tracing and triggers on garments to hold that data, I think it really helps jump the industry forward into providing some actionable data that can be used to showcase a lot of their great efforts that are going unnoticed now, or focus on what they're not doing and that they need to increase, increase what they are doing because it's not working for their consumers or garments aren't getting where they need to go. So some pretty exciting stuff is finally happening in this.”