Suppliers play a huge role in the operational capacity of a business and with a mutually healthy relationship, trusted suppliers can help a business satisfy customer needs, even in a pinch.
However, businesses that source goods or services from questionable suppliers run a great risk of failing to meet their own obligations to customers. Such weak links in the supply chain either present prominent or underlying risk and while one is evident, it is underlying risk that can only be identified through investigation.
Rudi Kruger, GM: data services at LexisNexis South Africa, says supplier vetting is the surest way to see the whole picture. “Working with the wrong supplier could cost you money and your customer’s trust but by vetting suppliers, many underlying risks can be identified.
Vetting assists with uncovering many red-flags, including:
* Suppliers with poor financial health – Many supplier performance issues are related to financial health. Those facing financial difficulties are risky because they may not be able to meet your standard of delivery. It is important to investigate the financial status of a supplier in order to establish its capabilities.
* Inappropriate relationships – One of the biggest risks is when a supplier has an advantage in its customer’s supply chain through having some sort of relationship with an employee. It is through these relationships that fraudulent activities can slip under the radar. Vetting both supplier and employees on an ongoing basis is highly recommended.
* History of unreliability – It is important to ensure that your vendor is in a position to deliver goods or services to the expected quality standard on time. While this type of assurance can best come from past experience, there are other means in which to determine a vendor’s reliability, including vetting and referrals.
* Fraudulent activities – It is bad news if a supplier was involved in pass-through schemes, shell company schemes or tender fraud as these activities are liable for prosecution but also say a lot about supplier integrity. Researching a company’s history will allow for these activities to come to the surface. It is also important to verify a supplier’s BBEEE status, credibility, reputation, partnerships, past projects and services, ownership structure and compliance record.
“Thoroughly vetting your suppliers to weed out these and other red flags is a must,” says Kruger. Vetting suppliers with a specialised solution like Lexis ® ProcureCheck from LexisNexis Data Services is recommended,” Kruger adds.
Lexis ProcureCheck is an easy to use web-based system that is useful in the procurement process as it assists with procurement vetting and vendor management, and facilitates the verification of various data sets, providing linkage to identify possible conflicts of interest, pass-through schemes and shell companies.
Additional benefits of Lexis ProcureCheck include that it:
* Provides automated irregularity alert reports;
* Provides vendor and staff reports (useful for King III committees);
* Allows you to create your own internal vendor list (preferred and non-preferred vendor indicators);
* Allows clients to import vendor and staff lists;
* Vendor vetting (on an adhoc or batch basis);
* Ongoing monitoring; and
* Detailed conflict of interest reports.