Visibility and transparency are the driving forces behind Supply Connect, a new supply chain portal being piloted in the Americas division’s Electromechanical and High Security sub group.

“Supply Connect really enhances visibility and transparency in our ordering process,” says Wendy Sams, director of strategic sourcing and supply chain. Wendy is team lead for the Supply Connect pilot project. “Previously, placing a purchase order (PO) with one of our suppliers was a manual task that required multiple steps. That process gave us no visibility as to when an order shipped, how much was shipped, and when it was going to arrive.”

Supply Connect facilitates transparent communication with suppliers and helps maintain inventory levels and improve on-time, error-free delivery.

“It gives our buyers and our suppliers a visual look inside the system so that everyone is aligned. Our buyers can go into the portal and place a PO. They can see it, the supplier can see it and our buyers can track when an order ships and when it will arrive,” says Wendy.

“Supply Connect is a collaborative, real-time platform that populates our ERP system once agreements are made,” says Jody Paviglionite, vice president, Americas Supply Management. “Our freight partners will also be connected for true end-to-end visibility in our supply chain.”

The team uses a seamless flow metric that looks at how many PO lines have been processed seamlessly, to gauge how well the pilot project is doing.

“Last year, we were at about 60 percent. For the month of September (2017), we were already up at 70 percent,” says Wendy. “So, even with just a few of our suppliers using the portal, we’ve seen a 10 percent increase in seamless flow.”

After this initial pilot project, Supply Connect’s capabilities will be expanded, says Jody. “We’ll add vendor managed inventory, forecasting, and the ability to use and maintain supplier score cards.”

The goal was to have 75 percent of the Phoenix team’s direct material spend process going through the portal by the end of 2017. Not only was the goal met, the percentage continues to grow.