Supplier Development Council
For Immediate Release
Northern California Supplier Development Council
The Northern California Supplier Development Council (NCSDC) provides certifications of minority-owned firms, and fosters business development between such qualified companies and Corporate America. As part of their charter, the NCSDC would field numerous requests from Fortune 500 member corporations on a daily basis. Large corporations needed up-to-date information on which minority-owned firms were capable of handling their specific needs. After a rigorous manual search and filtering process, the council was able to provide an answer, sometimes days later. In addition, there was no way to track this activity and follow up to gauge the success of the council's services.
Corporate America is realizing the importance and strategic advantage of doing business with minority- and women-owned firms. Nationally there are over
3,000 dues-paying corporate members of the National Minority Supplier
Development Council, and more than 100 of these corporations belong to the NCSDC. Joining the NCSDC demonstrates support for helping small minority-owned firms develop into regional and even national firms. At the same time, these corporate members expect the ability to easily identify certified minority-owned firms to include in any RFPs or business opportunities they may have.
With over 18,000 minority-owned and certified firms across the country, the task of determining which are available and capable of supporting any given requirement can be daunting. In order to meet its mission of promoting business between large corporations and minority-owned companies, the NCSDC had undertaken such a match making service. Every query was received via phone, fax or email. Each had unique traits, requiring manual attention. Member data for both large and minority-owned corporations was stored in a simple database residing on one computer at the NCSDC office.
To ensure the mission was achieved, the power to facilitate these procurements had to be placed into the hands of the business people of all member companies. Additionally, the president and board desired to track such procurement activity so as to ascertain the real impact and progress being made in the region by the council. Rose International was invited to develop such a system, and at the same time, redesign the Web site of the NCSDC.
The Rose International Solution
Once the project began, endless possibilities began to emerge. The desired result was a fresh looking Web presence, secure access areas for member searches, activity logs and statistics for procurement activity at several levels, and automated notifications to all interested parties in the supply chain.
The Rose-led team identified key users and began executing the project plan. As screen designs began to emerge, Rose incorporated usability labs to ensure system functionality questions to the council by the geographically dispersed user base were minimized. As the system approached 90 percent completion, pilot users were identified and taken through the entire NCSDC Web experience; from application to procurement win. Feedback from these usability and pilot users was incorporated as the system was completed and delivered. This enabled the Rose team to continue to move toward a timely completion date and at the same time build interest, credibility and excitement with the constituent user base.
In October 2002, NCSDC.org was launched in conjunction with organizational announcements of the new capabilities to Corporate America and the minority-owned firms alike. Secure Web-based sourcing was now available to large corporations looking to find solid minority-owned firms with which to contract. Key features of the system are:
1. Secure access to all dues paying members;
2. Complex Boolean filtering, offering multiple field combinations;
3. Optional automated e-Sourcing messages to notify firms of interest for requisitions ranging from simple one-time orders to complex capital purchases;
4. Proprietary corporate information search capabilities for minority-owned firms;
5. Automated activity logs and statistics showing e-Sourcing activity; and
6. A Vendor Opportunity Marketplace, providing a one-stop opportunity mart.
Corporate America in Northern California has never had te opportunity to immediately gain access to qualified, certified firms. Seeing a minority-owned firm's registration appear directly as a result of the buyer's own personal inquiry makes it clear if such a qualified firm exists.
"The new online database is a huge new service to our corporate members and minority businesses. It makes finding a qualified minority supplier as easy as logging onto the Internet."
Brad Erickson - Executive Director, NCSDC
The second phase of this project will put in place administrative screens to allow members to keep their edited information instantaneously up-to-date, and will allow NCSDC staff to generate custom reports as needed. Phase two will also introduce a constituency management program for the NCSDC staff, allowing them to easily and effectively communicate en masse or in a targeted fashion. As new opportunities are already being identified, Rose has identified a task to also re-architect the system to a three-tier model with emphasis on business objects to allow easy incorporation as the functionality expands in the future.