GATHERING YOUR REQUIREMENTS

The project starts with a survey of your sustainability, risk management, and/or quality program requirements. Some of the questions we'll cover include:

  • How long has your program been in place?
  • How are you managing the data?
  • What management reports and charts do you produce from the data, and how are they shared across the organization and supply chain?
  • How many suppliers do you have and how much do you know about the factories, subcontractors, and other vendor partners in the chain?
  • Which labs do you use and do you maintain only the test reports or the actual analytical results from within those reports?
Depending on the goals of your project, a detailed requirements analysis may be necessary. From the survey and/or requirements analysis, a statement of work will be developed, detailing project scope, budget, and timeline. The signed SOW will become an exhibit to the contract, called the Data Management Services Agreement. The Agreement contains the legal terms and conditions between the parties.

FROM SPREADSHEETS TO ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE

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.

CONFIGURING FROM SPREADSHEETS

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.

*Upgrading from Spreadsheets and Custom Databases