This article is an excerpt from the report Agile Demand-Supply Alignment — Part Three: ADSA Solution Assessments.
A copy of the full report can be downloaded here.
In Part 3A of this series, we reviewed Alloy, a solution for CPG companies to improve their downstream visibility and build a supply chain driven by end-consumer demand. Here we examine Anvyl, an integrated production and supplier management platform, with a pre-certified network of strategic suppliers and service providers.
Anvyl: Integrated Production Management Platform with Pre-certified Network of Strategic Suppliers
Anvyl is a young company, founded in 2017, providing a supply chain platform that offers well-integrated sourcing capabilities, management of purchase orders, outsourced production, inbound logistics tracking, and exception management. Anvyl centralizes all production data, automates processes and manual tasks, and provides insights into a variety of risk factors. Another key differentiator is their network of pre-certified suppliers and a team of sourcing and supplier management personnel on the ground in China and other geographies. The platform provides a dashboard for viewing and drilling down into information and exceptions on parts, suppliers, orders, and shipments. It includes a capable set of sourcing tools, simple standardized workflow, customizable automation of tasks, and in-context tools for collaboration between buyers, suppliers/manufacturers, and third-party service providers to resolve issues that arise.
Target Customer Characteristics/Factors Driving Adoption
Anvyl’s customers are primarily emerging brands and retailers that are growing rapidly, as well as more established companies wanting to better deal with production-related supply chain disruptions. Anvyl provides a comprehensive platform for managing everything to do with production management. Another advantage smaller organizations (and some larger ones too) are often keen to leverage is the economies of scale (lower prices) inherent in Anvyl’s pre-certified supplier network, as well as Anvyl’s sourcing expertise and their personnel on the ground at supplier’s factories. Building up one’s own sourcing expertise and strategic supplier relationships can take a long time.
Companies often buy Anvyl to integrate multiple systems, organizational functions, vendors, and service providers into cross-functional, cross-organizational supply chain workflows. These companies are looking to automate their supply-side processes, replacing manual data entry and manual monitoring tasks to free up their scarce internal sourcing and supply chain experts to do higher-value tasks. The automation improves the timeliness and accuracy of data.
Anvyl customers are often seeking to better collaborate across their enterprise and supply chain to create and execute more well-aligned optimal responses to issues and disruptions. They use Anvyl to execute a more globally optimal response, solve issues more quickly, and incorporate input from all affected parties to understand chain-wide impacts.
Industry and Company Size Focus
The main industries Anvyl serves are:
- Food & Beverage
Anvyl serves small and medium size companies with revenues from about $10M up to about a billion dollars.
The users of Anvyl span the buyer, supplier, and third-party organizations:
- Buyer Roles:
- Supply Chain/Operations: Procurement, Production, Logistics, Warehouse, Inventory Management
- Finance: Accounts Payable
- Supplier Roles:
- Account Managers and Sales Managers
- Production Coordinators
- Third-Party Collaborators Roles:
- Consultants and Supply Chain Experts
- Freight Forwarders and Transportation Brokers
Anvyl’s platform has a clean modern UI/UX that is easy to use, intuitively tying together parts, suppliers, outsourced production/orders, and logistics/shipments into supply chain dashboards with cross-functional, inter-enterprise workflows. It highlights exceptions and provides collaboration/messages, milestones, and task management. While the platform spans inventory, production, and logistics, its ‘center of gravity’ is production/supplier management where it has the richest functionality. The platform does not currently ingest historical demand, forecast, or demand-sensing data. Thereby, the exception management is focused on supply disruptions — i.e., alerting when supply execution falls behind schedule or runs into issues — rather than detecting when demand volatility will cause a demand-supply mismatch. Major differentiators for Anvyl are its centralization of production data, automation of manual tasks and processes, and increased predictability of the production process.
Anvyl’s top-level menu items are Dashboard, Orders, Parts, Sourcing, Suppliers, and Shipments. These are interlinked views of a single database that combines multiple types of data, potentially from multiple sources, such as parts/BOM and orders (POs) data from ERP and PLM systems, supplier master data, and performance data from supplier management and ERP systems, and shipment data from TMS systems and 3PLs. Smaller firms that do not have an ERP system can use Anvyl as the system of record for this data, thereby having Anvyl provide some of the functions of an ERP system. Since the data is all interlinked, users could start with a query about a part, see all the status of all suppliers, open orders, and shipments for that part, with exceptions highlighted, and the ability to drill down on any order or shipment. Similarly, the order view will show all parts on an order and associated shipments.
Anvyl has a data team that leverages the data flowing through the platform to generate insights to increase efficiencies, reduce errors, and anticipate issues. They also produce custom reports at a fixed fee, based on the scope of work.
Supplier Network, Sourcing Functionality and Services
While strategic sourcing is not part of the execution phase of ADSA, it is critical to the success of ADSA execution. Anvyl shines here too. They have a marketplace/network of 6,000 suppliers for multiple categories of products. They also have over 1,000 vetted suppliers which bring a whole different level than the typical supplier networks from other providers. These are essentially strategic supplier relationships Anvyl has built. Suppliers are evaluated on over 100 criteria in areas such as social responsibility, operations, quality, and finance. According to Anvyl, less than one in 100 suppliers that Anvyl evaluates passes their audit and vetting process. They also conduct recurring in-person audits and inspections of suppliers’ factories and operations.
The Anvyl platform provides sourcing and procurement functionality, including supplier discovery (searching profiles that include geography, products, capabilities, lead times, MOQs, and customers), RFQ management (generates and mass sends RFQs, response comparison tools, negotiation, and awarding), and PO creation and management.
Out-sourced Production/Supplier Management
Anvyl’s platform lets suppliers and outsourced manufacturers log in to participate in all phases of the relationship lifecycle, starting with self-service onboarding, RFQ response and negotiation, PO response and negotiation, updating of production and shipment status, invoicing, and payment processing. From the buyer’s perspective, many of the routine tasks for this lifecycle can be automated, including no-code and low-code customizations to the workflows, for things like automated sending of RFQs, email reminders for the supplier to update status, and so forth.
Milestones, Tasks, Exceptions, Collaboration
Anvyl has standardized on five major milestones or phases: 1) Pre-production (RFQ, PO negotiations), 2) Production, 3) Pre-shipment, 4) Shipment, and 5) Delivery. This provides a standardized view of the status and common site-wide navigation/UI scheme out-of-the-box.
Beyond the five standard milestones, Anvyl allows users to create custom workflows with unlimited numbers of tasks defined and monitored. From an ADSA perspective, this enables production status to be automatically1 monitored and provides early warning when things are running late. This could include, for example, monitoring the procurement and receipt of raw materials and shipment of the finished component or assembly. The platform can automatically provide reminders to suppliers of upcoming or late tasks, and alerts to the buyer when tasks are imminent or running behind schedule. Similarly, logistics tasks and workflow can be defined such as load accepted, pickup at factory, consolidation, etc. This enables an automated and proactive approach to monitoring and preventing disruptions from happening and/or keeping delays from getting worse, undetected.
When potential disruptions or delays are detected, the platform enables in-line/in-context dialogs between all necessary participants to resolve the issue. The user can invite other functional groups, suppliers, and third-party service providers into a discussion thread to gather information, agree on a course of action, and monitor the execution of the resolution. Anvyl does not yet provide automated suggestions of resolutions, nor the analysis and comparison of the impact of different resolutions. However, it can provide automated execution of resolutions, provided the necessary integrations to the execution systems have been implemented.
Pricing, ROI, Time-to-Value, Services
Simple Pricing Scheme
Anvyl has three different tiers of pricing: Starter, Professional, and Enterprise.2 There are no per-user fees, allowing unlimited users. The base subscription fee includes maintenance, upgrades, training, and Anvyl’s sourcing services. The subscription fee is based on the size of the company and the expected number of Purchase Orders.
Anvyl charges suppliers a percent of revenue earned by the supplier through the platform. Those fees are similar in size to the fees and commissions that suppliers pay to traditional brokers.
Modest Fees for Integrations with Other Systems
Integrations with other systems are optional. There is a one-time charge for each integration implemented. The integration fees are generally quite low for integrations that are already built. Fees are higher for complex integrations and/or when the integration is unlikely to be reused by many other customers. There are a few pre-bundled ‘self-serve’ integrations included in the base subscription at no extra cost. This is where the user simply provides the login credentials for those systems and the Anvyl platform pulls in the needed data. Currently, Mainfreight, Flexport, and QuickBooks integrations are self-serve.
Considerable ROI via Mutually Agreed Cost Savings Targets and Metrics Improvements
The size of the benefits seen by Anvyl’s customers depends on the scope of their deployment and the size of the customer. Their customers realize cost savings and performance improvements based on metrics that are custom to each business. Anvyl measures those metrics, reports on them, and has periodic discussions with customers around meeting the mutually agreed improvement goals. Anvyl told us their customers receive an annual ROI that is typically 10X to 20X the cost of the subscription service they pay to Anvyl. ROI is driven by Anvyl in three main ways:
- Productivity improvements, by reducing sourcing professionals’ time placing and tracking POs, finding new suppliers, and organizing documents & communications related to production projects.
- Supplier performance improvements with fewer quality issues and higher OTIF.
- Lower direct material and services spend due to lower negotiated prices.
ROI is important in ongoing account relationships. Anvyl has quarterly business reviews (QBRs) evaluating progress against mutually agreed customer success criteria. Anvyl’s software measures many of the metrics that a customer wishes to track for success such as supplier responsiveness, on-time performance, accountability through completed tasks, order-level reporting, and reduction in supply chain disruptions. The platform compares the cost of sourcing through an Anvyl-certified supplier vs the customer’s current supplier.
Implementation and Time-to-Value
Implementations that do not require an integration are fast — on average taking from one to seven days. During this time, Anvyl works with clients to ensure their parts and supplier data are uploaded properly, and parts are accurately linked to the corresponding suppliers. Once verified of its accuracy, the client can start using Anvyl without any missing data points. The main dependency for implementation time is the responsiveness of the client.3 Training (typically about 30 minutes) is provided as part of the base subscription fee to users on both the brand (buyer) side and supplier side to ensure users are successful on the platform.
Value starts being realized as soon as a customer issues a purchase order. Suppliers are sent automated milestone prompts, allowing sourcing professionals at the buyer to spend less time following up and more time focusing on other strategic initiatives or issues that require attention. Additional value can be realized once integrations are completed, as described in the next subsection below.
Onboarding Suppliers and Integrating Systems
Supplier onboarding is included in the base subscription fee. This includes supplier training and importing SKU/BOM details and supplier information from .CSV files provided by the buyer and/or supplier.
Integrations are not required, but many customers opt to integrate their freight forwarder/logistics information for visibility, ERP, inventory management, and/or accounts payable system (for 3-way matching and/or sharing an invoice). If a customer has an ERP, they will usually integrate it with the Anvyl platform, so that information about SKUs, suppliers, and orders is synched over to Anvyl as new ones are added in the ERP system. Integrations also enable automated execution of changes for issues that arise where the resolutions are decided on the platform.
New Product Introduction Services, Quality Assurance, Custom Reports
Anvyl has a team that helps brands launch new products to market. The NPI service is priced at a fixed fee, based on the scope of work. Anvyl will source the items for the customer, return quotes, recommend suppliers, and when applicable, travel to the suppliers’ factories with or without the client to verify quality and ensure the product meets the client’s needs. Anvyl also helps resolve quality issues at their suppliers.
Who Anvyl is a Good Fit For
Anvyl is a good fit for companies looking at improving the supply side of ADSA — monitoring and dealing with disruption in production and logistics — especially if they are also seeking integrated sourcing and procurement tools. When using Anvyl, the detection of demand-supply mismatches due to demand volatility needs to be done outside of the platform. As well, Anvyl does not yet provide automated resolutions or impact analytics. For customers who are willing to do those things off-platform, Anvyl offers the best out-sourced production management and strategic sourcing functionality and services of any of the platforms reviewed in this report. For companies looking to gain rapid access to sourcing capabilities and strategic suppliers, as well as automation of supply-side monitoring and management, Anvyl should be seriously considered.
In Part 3C of this series we look at E2open, an acquisitive integrator of supply chain applications with an end-to-end networked platform.
1 The monitoring of status is automated from the buyer’s perspective. The supplier needs to manually update the status for ‘off platform’ execution, such as production milestones. For tasks performed on the platform, such as submitting an invoice, the supplier merely performs the task on the platform and the status of that task is automatically updated. — Return to article text above
2 Pricing information can be found here. As of this publication, Anvyl’s Starter price is $500/month and the Professional price is $1,500/month when billed annually. — Return to article text above
3 When a customer does not provide their parts library or supplier directory or does not ensure the accuracy of the uploaded data in a timely manner, this causes a longer implementation process. — Return to article text above
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