Perhaps the most challenging problem in supplier performance management is having the ability to reliably capture, interpret, and share performance data from multiple, dissimilar data sources. Supplier and product performance data can originate with manufacturing facilities, raw material providers, laboratories, and various brand enterprise systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and product life cycle management (PLM) system. All major laboratories offer a customer portal for initiating test requests and receiving test results, but rarely do retailers, brands, or other data end-users contract with only a single lab. Comparing results across multiple labs is difficult at best — different names for the same type of test method, test group, and chemical/parameter, with different reporting limits, significant figures, and even units of measure. Link ServicesTM solves this problem by harmonizing cross-laboratory data into a standard format, with consistent rules for determining the pass/fail conclusion.

We leverage this standardization by using spreadsheet templates (see below) to load your configuration data into Link. The spreadsheets are exchanged through a secure client portal, then imported into Link to "seed" the database.


Don't throw out those spreadsheets, yet. We fast track the implementation by importing your configuration data into Link Services from your existing system(s). Spreadsheet templates with your suppliers, BOMs, users, labs, and test program configuration data (sample types/names, categories, test groups/items, methods, test parameters, units of measure, specifications/limits), along with any special usage or contents (product finishes, age grading, skin contact, destination country).

For RSL programs, we often start with a spreadsheet configured like the one in this example. This spreadsheet is then transformed into individual, discrete rows. Each row represents a single permutation of the testing logic — the specific type of sample, method, parameter being measured, and limit used to determine whether the result passes or fails. The transformed spreadsheet can be quite large (over 10,000 rows), but we use special procedures in Excel to manipulate the data into the format required for upload. The same process and template are used to quickly configure physical/performance testing or any other type of test program in Link, and even to update test programs when the requirements change. A secure client portal is provided for the project team to exchange these documents and templates during the implementation.