Data is the buzzword of the tech world. But data without context is data that is useless. For the supply chain that is long, with many links in many locations, data is critical — spanning vendors of all stripes and sizes, monitoring existing relationships and trouble spots before they become, well, troublesome.
APEX Analytix, which focuses on supply chain management and optimizing the use of working capital, late last month announced the newest release of its FirstStrike SmartVM, which is software geared toward sourcing, scrubbing and simultaneously cleaning data that flows across corporate clients’ transoms about their suppliers.
The firm has said that SmartVM uses a variety of mechanisms through which to automate supplier information: robotic process automation, interfaces with a number of governmental agencies, including tax agencies, and vendor records that are tied to APEX Analytix’s several decades of work within supply chain management.
The end result, Danny Thompson, vice president of project management, said in an interview with PYMNTS, is that companies focused on efficiency within their B2B transactions and supplier knowledge get data in real time. This is especially important, he said, where supplier risk extends across several categories, including fraud attempts, bad actors within an organization and operational risk that is specific to a vendor.
Real-time data collection, analysis and presentation can make a difference in fraud prevention, where “data scrubbing means that the first steps in [bringing onboard a] supplier means data comes through extensive checks” and that, later, any changes in requests for account info from clients’ suppliers (or those masquerading as such) or requests for redirected payments are matched against constantly monitored changes in supplier data, including addresses, phone numbers and email data.
For other types of risk, such as regional or geopolitical risks, Thompson noted that the data scrubbed through APEX also ties in with a CPI score, or the Corruption Perception Index, where surveys and other data sources help uncover the risks of working with the public sector within certain countries. The information that firms need, he added, in any real-time context, can be as simple as finding out “that a supplier business address has closed down” or if there have been disclosures about product issues — events that are worthy of follow-up.
Further, APEX has said that SmartVM helps risk score vendors through more than 100 analytical tests. Thompson said that the supplier database info is offered up through a supplier’s portal and “can be sent through email or file feed and updated daily or in real time.”