B2B Payments

When Supplier Deals Are Risky Business

A supply chain is only as strong as the information that moves across the links in its chain. Tradeshift, which offers supplier collaboration technology, wants to nip supplier risk in the bud.

Jigish Avalani, the company’s president and chief operating officer, told PYMNTS that its newest technology platform, Tradeshift Risk, helps expand visibility into a supply chain by making it easier to ensure that compliance and reporting is done continuously and in real time.

The data that is most out of date may be surprisingly basic, said Avalani, with crucial holes in the ability for data to flow seamlessly. Avalani cited a European Tradeshift customer’s procurement officer who told him that he remained “less than confident” that suppliers had even the correct emails in place, a deficit that could be traced to perhaps 20 percent of that outfit’s suppliers.

To address concerns such as these, Tradeshift Risk ensures the burden of compliance shifts from vendors to suppliers, chiefly through a global network that is collaborative in nature.

Avalani told PYMNTS the Risk network takes its inspiration from social networking, chiefly LinkedIn. As Avalani illustrated, with a system such as Tradeshift’s (and LinkedIn’s), the profile information is “accurate to the degree that you want it, but with the information that is in place, you can be sure that if I send you an email or attempt to contact you, that is going to happen.”

And taking the profile analogy a step further, Tradeshift verifies supplier data in real time, through the use of tax identification numbers, regional data and the like, which is linked to an API. “The moment [suppliers] type in their numbers, we do all the regulatory checks.”

For cross-border transactions, the real-time monitoring of regulatory issues and satisfaction of compliance mandates is an especially timely issue. Avalani said that Tradeshift customers are able to mandate a diverse population of information that can include information about corporate responsibility (such as “green” issues), which tends to skew as more important among European firms and where Tradeshift partners with EcoVadis, a sustainability rating platform that issues scorecards.

Through the Tradeshift network, buyers subscribe to supplier profiles that have been verified by the company and are able to use risk scoring based on their own parameters using riskmethods, a Software-as-a-Service provider. In reference to the security of data, Avalani said that Tradeshift does not hold data and acts merely as a custodian as it wends its way between parties.

In discussing the implications of Tradeshift’s Risk for B2B, Avalani said that the new platform integrates seamlessly with the company’s already entrenched offerings, Tradeshift Buy and Tradeshift Pay, which means that risk alerts triggered by Tradeshift Risk may actually pause transactions that are flowing back and forth between suppliers that may be deemed relatively higher risk candidates.

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