Chain Reaction is Sourcing Journal’s discussion series with industry executives to get their take on today’s logistics challenges and learn about ways their company is working to keep the flow of goods moving. Here, Gregor Stühler, CEO & co-founder of Scoutbee, discusses how the company enables procurement teams to make strategic and proactive sourcing decisions that strengthen supply chain resilience, improve sustainability, drive innovation, increase diversity and reduce time to market.
Name: Gregor Stühler
Title: CEO & Co-Founder
What is Scoutbee? What are some of your offerings?
Our data foundation acts as a cognitive layer in companies’ procurement software landscape and connects procurement teams to any data point—internal, supplier, customer, third-party data and more—so they can make the right supplier decisions for their business.
Most of the data procurement teams rely on today is fragmented and unactionable, which leads to decision making that is based on best guesses. Suppliers also use fragmented systems to present their capabilities to buyers, which often leads to buyers not having a full understanding of what suppliers can deliver.
Our offering addresses these issues by creating a holistic overview of the supply base, based on accurate, dynamic and enriched supplier data. We put all the data in one place and empower procurement teams with the best intelligence possible.
What industries do you primarily serve? Which industry do you think is best equipped to teach fashion about improving their supply chain logistics?
We serve a variety of industries, including fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), consumer packaged goods (CPG), retail, fashion, energy & utilities, life science, automotive and industrial manufacturing. FMCG and CPG are the most relatable to the fashion sector given the fast turnaround times, considerable brand risk and direct customer proximity, and can teach the fashion industry a lot about how to operate a top supply chain.
In fact, several companies in the FMCG and CPG spaces—including Procter & Gamble and Unilever—are consistently recognized for their high-performing supply chains. Fashion companies looking to improve their supply chain operations can look to these companies as a guide.
The main thing fashion companies looking to strengthen the resilience of their supply chain can do is build and diversify their supplier base and hone their ability to make proactive and strategic supplier decisions. The data most procurement and supply chain teams rely on today is extremely fragmented and unactionable.
This leads companies to conduct a “post mortem” after an event happens, instead of solving the issue in the moment. Invest in your data and data capabilities so you have the insights you need to make the right decisions, and pivot to suppliers that can meet market demand and help you operate a high-performing and resilient supply chain.
What is your company doing to make the movement of goods more sustainable?
We help our customers be more strategic when it comes to sustainability so they can factor in, for example, supplier and logistics security or CO2 footprints in the very early stages. Our customers generally use our solutions to decide where and how to move their supply base into the most logistically efficient area.
For example, if you’re an FMCG company buying bleach from South America and shipping that to Europe, you can leverage Scoutbee to identify suppliers within and outside of your current supply base with similar capabilities closer to the European factory. With our technology, you could find a supplier in India that can send the product by train instead of ship, which cuts down on shipping time, makes your CO2 footprint smaller, and improves shipping arrival time predictability.
Additionally, we believe sustainability and diversity goals are now at the top of corporate agendas, which makes the “know your supplier” movement even more critical. Procurement and supply chain teams need to continue to invest in their supplier intelligence and really understand their supply base to deliver on these objectives and reduce risk.
When it comes to creating efficiencies, there are quick wins and longer plays. What are a few things your company is doing to help its customers and partners succeed on both fronts?
There are usually two things that stress procurement and supply chain teams: a changing market environment—including inflation, deflation and other macroeconomic impacts—and changing internal agendas, such as ESG hitting the top of corporate priorities. These two forces typically have the biggest impact on what procurement and supply chain teams are focused on at any given time.
Success in tackling the impacts from both forces comes down to getting the right data inside and outside of your organization, extracting the right insights from that data, drawing the right conclusions, and leveraging predictive and prescriptive analytics to determine the best path forward.
Scoutbee helps companies generate all the data they need to get a full picture of where they are missing out on efficiencies and where they need to invest. We generate insights in real time and can automate decision making to eliminate stress and help teams create supply base perfection.
Are you optimistic about the state of supply chains in the next few years?
The next two years will certainly prove challenging, but I’m very optimistic about the future of supply chains thereafter. There’s a lot of “forensic” work going on in the supply chain right now, and this will likely continue for the next couple of years.