A natural disaster strikes your company’s supply chain, impacting your suppliers’ ability to get goods to you. That’s the scenario that the Fukushima Earthquake and Hurricane Sandy delivered to thousands of companies. Where do you go to quickly find suppliers who can get goods to your facilities’ that keep operations running?


At Ariba, companies are increasingly discovering that Ariba Discovery (http://discovery.ariba.com) is a valuable resource to quickly find suppliers that are the right match for different buying situations and often at competitive costs … or even lower costs than found with incumbent suppliers.


Ceylan Thomson is a member of the Ariba Discovery team and frequently talks with companies about the “win-win” benefits that both buyers and suppliers gain by participating on Ariba Discovery. Ceylan will help lead two breakout sessions at Ariba LIVE in Washington, D.C.:


  • Maximizing Sales and Marketing Reach in Your 2013 Business Initiatives
  • Seizing the Spot Buy Opportunity


I talked with Ceylan about how companies who buy and those who sell are taking advantage of Ariba Discovery to benefit their supply chains and financial bottom line.


Ceylan, what burning question are customers asking you?


Why should I use Ariba Discovery? What’s in for me?


What I point out to them is that you never know what you’ll uncover by posting an RFP at Ariba Discovery. On average, buying companies save 15% on sourcing costs when they use Ariba Discovery to add new suppliers to their sourcing events. I just spoke with a buyer who saved 50% by finding a new supplier on Ariba Discovery. Other benefits that buying companies are seeing include shortened cycle times and improved quality. Ariba customer Plaid Enterprise has a great story about the speed, efficiency and savings it gained with Ariba Discovery.


What about suppliers? What’s in it for them?


For suppliers, Ariba Discovery provides an efficient and low-cost alternative to traditional sales lead generation activities, such as trade shows, lists purchases and cold colds. Suppliers get matched to high-quality leads with buyers in an active purchasing cycle and these leads are delivered directly to the suppliers’ inbox.


MarkMaster is a great example. The family-run business saw its industry shrinking and demand for its products was down. MarkMaster started using Ariba Discovery to find new business opportunities and gain greater exposure for its products.


The results? MarkMaster CEO Kevin Govin states Ariba Discovery accounts for 80% of the company’s business orders and it has experienced 10% or more growth per year. These gains were achieved with minimal IT or business-processing spend.


During your Ariba LIVE breakout sessions, what will you discuss with attendees that may be new to them?


We’ll talk about the new features introduced with Ariba Product Release 10 (AD10). Buyers can now discover suppliers that match their buying needs not only by doing an RFI/RFQ posting but also through the “Suppliers You May Like” feature, which is displayed directly within the Ariba Sourcing solution. Buyers also see more information on suppliers’ capabilities (e.g. Ariba activity data, quality certifications) through an improved profile page for suppliers.


Suppliers benefit from this exposure and also get the opportunity to create highly-targeted placements within the Sourcing solution.


We’ll also have some of our customers share their experience on how they’re using Ariba Discovery to build better business relationships, grow their business, reduce cost, and improve efficiency.


Ceylan, from carnival operators to car batteries, Ariba Discovery has seen its share of unusual sourcing requests. What’s the zaniest RFP you’ve come across at Ariba Discovery?


With all the fun postings that we see on Ariba Discovery, it’s hard to pick just one. For example, we had buyers looking for Halloween event installations, mystery shoppers, and seafood steamers. If I had to pick one it would probably be for the transport of a turbine to Alaska’s North Slope. It made me wish I could join the trip and explore the beauty up there.


To read more about how companies are benefitting from Ariba Discovery, check out Ceylan’s blog posts at Ariba Exchange. To get a snapshot of the daily volume of new lead activity generated at Ariba Discovery, follow @AribaDiscovery on Twitter.


Photo credit: © victor zastol'skiy - Fotolia.com