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June 2021 Release Notes

June 2021 Product Updates

It’s admittedly odd to think that we, a company that was initially conceived to address the myriad challenges with IT RFPs, has a customer roster where roughly half don’t run sourcing events at all. To be clear, we think implementing robust sourcing practices is critically important for every procurement department and every organization. And we continue to invest in those parts of our product. However, what we clearly didn’t realize when we started Vendorful was just how cumbersome ERPs are. Indeed, it is largely frustration with ERPs that is driving the growth the of our Vendor Management module.

Here are some of the highlights from last month’s product updates:

Bulk Set Stakeholders

Vendorful leverages the concept of a stakeholder in various contexts. In an RFP, it’s a participant in the sourcing event. When collecting data for Supplier Scorecards, it’s a survey respondent. When considering Vendor Management, stakeholders are the users who are attached to the vendor record in some way. These stakeholders can have different responsibilities and therefore different permissions, but they are somehow connected to the vendor.

Previously, stakeholders were added on a vendor-by-vendor basis. While this was totally reasonable with a few hundred vendors, it became challenging with scale. Building on the “bulk actions” foundation that had developed for messaging, we’ve released a feature that allows a user to filter on any number of criteria, select any of or all the vendors who meet those criteria, and assign stakeholders (and their permissions) to them. So rather than doing one at a time, you can do tens, hundreds, or even thousands at once. And since the UI simply involves an additional action, there’s no learning curve.

Select Vendors to Assign Stakeholders

After you select the vendors, you can add the desired stakeholders and set the appropriate permissions for them.

Add Stakeholders and Set Their Permissions

Vendor Attribute Enhancements

We made a couple improvements to vendor attributes in terms of both configuration and filtering. On the configuration side, there are two new features.

First, we added some additional functionality for selection-type attributes. These are fields where the user can select from a list of pre-determined options. When a customer had 50+ options, the user experience became unwieldy. So now have autocomplete functionality so a user simply needs to type the first few letters and will be able to find the right option. This works with both single-select and multi-select attributes.

Second, we now give our customers the ability to configure default values for attributes. An example might be for “Preferred Supplier Status.” Rather than leaving it blank, an organization could set it to FALSE and then change it if and when appropriate.

Finally, on the filtering side, the application now “remembers” all the filters that were set on the vendor list page. This way, if you are tasked with managing a certain subset of vendors, or vendors that meet specific criteria, your pre-configured filter list will just show up rather than requiring you to set it up anew each time.

Live View Progress

We continue to overhaul our RFP response experience with Live Views. The challenge is that there’s a lot of refactoring to do and we need to get it all done before we can roll it out. It’s not something that lends itself to “a bit of one paradigm and a bit of the other.”

But in addition to plugging away at that, our team has been introducing Live View functionality in other parts of the application. Last month, we rolled this out for Attribute Validation. There were no changes to the user interfaces so this change was invisible to our customers. That said, we have much more efficient, testable, and maintainable code.

Want to check out these new features in action? Sign up for a Vendorful demo.

Did you know we publish new product updates every month? Catch up on our most recent releases:

May 2021 Release Notes

May 2021 Product Updates

As a software offering, the “surface area” of Vendorful has grown considerably since we started. What was initially an eRFX point solution is now a broad Strategic Sourcing platform. There are many more modules and each of those modules has many more features. This is the natural consequence of iteration.

Since we’re working on a much larger application these days, there tends to be fewer thematic narratives around development work, but the past month saw several enhancements made to reporting. And because we get to cherry pick the releases, we’ll focus on some of those. (Since we don’t want to set an expectation that there will consistent themes, we’ll throw in one other feature that is completely unrelated!)

Improved Reporting Page for Supplier Scorecards

Vendorful allows for lots of customizations. Internal surveys for reviewing suppliers are just one of the many things that can be configured to our users’ liking. In fact, there can be different surveys for different categories of suppliers, different versions of surveys, etc. All of this flexibility is great, but not if it ratchets up complexity.

We noticed that it took too many clicks to get actionable information on the Supplier Scorecard page. So we went back to the drawing board and figured out how we can offer users the same level of configurability while simultaneously simplifying things. After several attempts, we are happy to declare, “Mission Accomplished.”

The application now picks up where you left in terms of template selection. And the remaining options are filtered (behind the scenes) accordingly. So all you need to do is pick your suppliers and the relevant date range and boom! You have a visualization. You can then refine by changing chart types, roll-up periods, additional filtering by category. (This is pretty neat; imagine you have Supplier A and Supplier B who both supply widgets to you, but also supply other distinct things with no overlap. You can now look at their aggregate results or just compare how they do on widgets.)

Scorecard UI

This scorecard data can be also be exported to PDF. Please note, the above screenshot preceded the PDF export capability by a week. If you were to log in now, you’d see the Export button. And example of the PDF is below.

Supplier Scorecard PDF

Configurable Reporting Dashboard

Vendorful users are sitting on a drove of data beyond supplier scorecards. With the new dashboard that we’ve developed, our users can determine the type of data they want for a report and the associated visualization. 

Configure a Report

Once added to the dashboard, the report can be resized and moved to a particular area via drag and drop. When users revisit their dashboard, all of the graphs and charts that they had previously configured will be there.

Reporting Dashboard

Bulk Invitations to Vendors

Our users tell us that much of the value they get from Vendorful as it relates to vendor/supplier management is the ability to see all the data in one place. Compliance info, spend, performance, contracts…. And while relationships are largely managed on a one-to-one basis, there are times when doing things in bulk would come in really handy.

Last month, we built out the infrastructure for doing bulk management of vendors and released the first bulk feature: “Invite vendors to update attributes.” Attribute data that expires, like a Certificate of Insurance, will automatically prompt the vendor to update it. But this bulk capability allows mass, proactive solicitation of data. So if your organization decides that it needs, for example, new W-9s from every supplier, you can now request this with the click of a button.

Want to check out these new features in action? Sign up for a Vendorful demo.

Did you know we publish new product updates every month? Catch up on our most recent releases:

April 2021 Release Notes

April 2021 Product Updates

April saw a lot of progress on the application. The very first module we developed was our Sourcing module, which allows people to run eRFX. We’ve continued to iterate on it, but spent much of the last month making significant architectural changes, initially focused around the supplier response experience. This primarily entails refactoring our application to use Phoenix Live Views. (You can learn more about Live Views, but it’s pretty nerdy stuff. Suffice to say that the user experience will be way faster.)

In keeping with our desire to deliver ongoing improvements that can experienced by our users, we’ve continued to focus on Vendor Management. Here are some select new features and enhancements that we made in April.

Bulk Emailing Capabilities

Our users repeatedly tell us that having previously siloed supplier information in one place has been a game changer. There’s no more digging through multiple systems, emailing colleagues to fill gaps, etc. You can simply drill down and see everything you need to see.

As our customer usage began to scale, however, we noticed that there were some missing pieces in our system. While we made the “manage a vendor” experience much better, we weren’t doing enough to help our users “manage all vendors.” Over the coming months, we expect to release more features to support this. In April, we rolled out mass emailing right from the app. Here are some of the key features:

  • Two types of email
    • General email with customizable message
    • Request to update vendor information that has a customizable message and also automatically generates a link for the vendor to follow to complete the action
  • Support for attachments
  • Integrates with bulk email systems like Mailgun so emails can be send en masse using the user’s email address rather than an @vendorful.com email address. This helps both deliverability and also handles “out of office” messages and the like.
  • Works with filtering so vendors can be selected on any criteria that is tracked.

Mass Email Vendors

Once you’ve selected the vendors, all you need to do it add your message. Vendorful will automatically send the email to the appropriately designated contacts.

Vendor Bulk Email Form

Spend Capture and Display Enhancements

Vendorful isn’t a standalone spend analysis tools. In the interest of bringing to together as much information as we can, however, spend capture and analysis is an important piece of the puzzle. There were a few changes we made to this feature in April.

  • Support for multiple currencies.
  • Detailed transaction breakdowns with support for legal entities.

In the screenshot below, you can see the new layout to view rolled-up spend as well as per-transaction entries for any legal entity. (Note: vendor name and legal entity names have been blurred for privacy.)

Spend Transactions by Entity

More Vendor Document Storage

Try as we might, we can’t get away from documents. Frankly, we can’t imagine a future where unstructured data isn’t a critical part of a business. While we have support for files throughout Vendorful, we added a specific Documents tab to the vendor record. This allows our users to take ad hoc documents and store them with other relevant data about the vendor.

Want to check out these new features in action? Sign up for a Vendorful demo.

Did you know we publish new product updates every month? Catch up on our most recent releases:

March 2021 Release Notes

March 2021 Product Updates

As more customers dive deeper into our Vendor Management module, we’re doing a lot of listening so we can further improve their experience. This means everything from UI enhancements to completely new features. Last month, we spent more time working on this module than any of our others so this update will be a bit more thematic than most.

For avoidance of doubt, our team spent plenty of time working on features pertaining to other parts of our platform, but more attention was directed at Vendor Management than any other module so that will be the focus of this entry.

Refinements to the Vendor Attribute Page

Try as we might to identify the scope of a new feature, we are always surprised by customers who use the product differently than previous ones…and certainly differently than we had anticipated. Recently, we added several customers that plan to make Vendorful the entry point for supplier onboarding. Once the supplier data, what we call “attributes,” are entered into Vendorful, other systems will ingest this data via the Vendorful API.

As there are multiple systems accessing this data, Vendorful has to maintain all the “sync’able” attributes for all the sync’d systems. If you think back to middle school math, our product is effectively storing and managing the sum of the sets of data.

With all of this data, we discovered that there was a lot of page scrolling. By changing the layout of the data to make better use of space and put more information front and center. We also took the opportunity to improve the iconography associated with attributes.

Improved Vendor Attribute Layout

Attribute Audit History

We have been tracking changes to attributes and showing the most recent one. While this has been sufficient for our users to date, we’ve recently onboarded a swath of customers who are doing much more regular data updates. With changes to attributes happening more frequently, it’s important that they can see a richer audit trail. And now they can:

Attribute Audit Trail

As mentioned in a previous update, the audit trail shows the user who made the change, the previous value, as well as the date and time of the change. If the change is being made by a 3rd-party system like an ERP, that will also be recorded and displayed.

Taggable Performance Metrics

Our customers can now have greater granularity in the capture and display of quantitative performance data, e.g. on-time delivery, material quality, etc. The specific use case involved a customer of ours that has production units in various geographies. Their suppliers ship raw materials to each of the production units and our customer wants to understand the performance at each location. (Note: in the screenshot below, we’ve blurred the production unit information and have hidden the supplier name to protect confidential data.)

Tagged Performance Metrics

This feature was implemented with flexibility so for those that want to split the metrics across some other dimension rather than production unit, all they need to do is pass in the tags they desire.

More File Previews

There are many places where users can upload files in Vendorful. RFX, Contracts Administration, and yes, Vendor Management, among them. When Word and Excel files, for example, were uploaded, we would generate a PDF preview that can be viewed without requiring a separate download. Oddly, we didn’t offer that feature for images. Well, that has been remedied. So now users can upload images in a variety of formats and be treated to a preview.

Want to check out these new features in action? Sign up for a Vendorful demo.

Did you know we publish new product updates every month? Catch up on our most recent releases:

February 2021 Release Notes

February 2021 Product Updates

We always talk about APIs so now we’re going to write a bit about APIs. If you’ve talked with us or found the right pages on our website, you know that Vendorful has been built in “API-first” fashion. What does this mean? We work back to  front, creating API tests, then the API, and then a front-end that calls the API. This enables us to practice Test-Driven Development (TDD), which confers a heap of benefits on its own.

But back to APIs for a moment. These are generally internal as publishing them would be overwhelming and likely useless. However, when a customer asks us to expose particular capabilities, we can turn Vendorful’s private APIs into public ones. Once they are released to the world, the maintenance of these public APIs is different, but remains very much in keeping with the way to develop software.

This blog post is going to be devoted largely to the release of some public APIs and will touch on a couple of other enhancements as well.

Authentication and Vendor Management APIs

It happened at once — multiple customers decided that they wanted to move their vendor onboarding process from manual to automated. So rather than swapping a bunch of emails with vendors and keying data into an ERP, the vendor self-onboards in Vendorful and the collected data is synchronized to the ERP (and/or any other systems that need it).

When we started Vendorful, we had a very narrow focus: RFPs for complex and/or expensive IT purchases. We had a couple of prospects that loved what we had built, but they wanted that same simplicity for managing their existing vendors rather than sourcing new ones. And that feedback ultimately turned into a robust standalone module. These prospects, both of which became customers, were using Excel, shared folders, and the like to manage their respective supply bases. So our focus was on giving them a simple UI where they could see and manage all of the information in one place. In addition, we wanted to make it east for vendors to add and update their information in a self-service manner. Thus began the development of what grew into our Vendor Management module.

As our business has grown, so too has the existing infrastructure footprints of our customers. Now, a “typical” Vendorful customer likely has an ERP, AP, and/or e-procurement system. And they regularly face the prospect of manually keying in data or running the risk that key data falls out of date.

By exposing a public API, we allow our customers to have a single point of entry for vendor onboarding. While this could be another third-party system, our customers are now using Vendorful for this. The vendor onboards into Vendorful and the data is sync’d via the API to other systems. If data should change in another system, it can be sync’d to Vendorful as well. On top of that, Vendorful can act as an update orchestration system when its API is used to update multiple systems.

Vendorful’s audit histories can show the calling system (e.g. SAP) as well as the user allowing for a full narrative to support data changes: “This data was changed at this time, by this user, using this application.”

To learn more about the API, we invite you to check out our documentation:

Vendor Survey Reminders

One of the ironies about starting a company that promises to reduce the amount of work that is done via email is that our customers keep asking for more email capabilities! Last month, we rolled out a reminder system that allows account administrators to send email notification reminders to people who have outstanding vendor assessment surveys. (This is part of the Vendor / Supplier Scorecard module.)

An interesting insight into how we develop features is that we like to consider all the way things could go wrong and then mitigate those risks. In this case, one of the concerns was that multiple people with the appropriate permissions could send out reminders. So we addressed this my only allowing these specific reminders to be sent once per day.

Survey Reminder Emails

Enhanced Notes on Vendors

While the bulk of our development ties back to customer requests, the asks are often a bit more opaque than we realize. For example, we had several customers ask us for the ability to leave notes on a vendor record. This made sense. There is a lot of structured data tied to the vendor record so allowing users to complement this with some unstructured data was quite logical.

However, what we found is that the way people actually want to use the feature is different than what we anticipated. Our expectation was that users would want something akin to a permanent, immutable record. In reality, what they wanted was a way to capture non-specific information that might be relevant for a short period of time.

To that end, we’ve added the ability to both edit and delete notes on the vendor record. Based on the early feedback, this is one of those small changes that results in a significant boost in customer happiness.

Delete and Edit Vendor Notes

Want to check out these new features in action? Sign up for a Vendorful demo.

Did you know we publish new product updates every month? Catch up on our most recent releases:

January 2021 Release Notes

January 2021 Product Updates

Our process is one of continuous improvement. Each day, the product gets a little bit better. Over months and quarters and years, our customers can look back and see the tremendous progress we’ve made and the benefits they reap as a consequence.

In order to maintain this pace, we need to make sure that our development team is happy and positioned for success. So in these release notes, we thought it would be interesting to open the kimono a bit and let you know a bit more about how the sausage is made….

Confetti for Scorecard Completion

The first module that was released at Vendorful was for eRFX. The implementation involved working both sides and all stages:

  • The buyer drafts the RFX
  • The vendor responds to the request and submits a bid
  • The buyer evaluates the bid responses

We took great pains to not only give the buyers a great product, but to ensure that the supplier experience was top notch. To that end, they could collaborate in real time, work online or offline, assign tasks, and more. And this has been a hit! We’ve had suppliers reach out to us by email — and even by phone — to tell us that they’ve never had a better experience working on an RFP.

Despite that, there were a surprising number of people who submitted bids only to contact our support team and ask, “Did my bid submission go through?” Invariably, we would point them to the text on their status page, which indicated it did.

After some internal debate, we decided to try an experiment. What would happen if we displayed confetti after the bid was submitted? The results were surprising. Since we implemented the confetti feature, not a single supplier has asked us about the status of a bid.

We should have learned our lesson, but sometimes it takes a bit of time. But we’re there now. In December, we added confetti to completed surveys. For those who aren’t familiar with Vendorful’s features, the surveys are part of our Vendor / Supplier Performance Management module. So now when stakeholders complete a supplier evaluation survey, we celebrate with confetti! 

Confetti on Survey Completion

Compile Time Improvements

Vendorful’s compile times had been growing longer and longer. For non-techies, when we want to test or release new features, we have to go through a process called code compilation. In our case, these compile times exceeded a minute. So for a developer to make a quick, 10-second code change, there was still an additional one-minute lag to see if that change worked. Now, take this a multiple it by the number of changes a developer makes per day and multiple that by the number of developers. That’s lots of wasted time.

By going through the code and meticulously cleaning up dependencies, we were able to achieve an 80% reduction in compile time. What once took over a minute now takes a bit over 10 seconds. But the most important result is happier, more productive developers.

File Reorganization

In continuing our theme of revealing the developer experience and changes that we make to improve things for our development team, which in turn improves things for our customers, let’s consider files.

Vendorful stopped being a one-trick pony a few years ago. Today, our product is a suite, rather than a point solution. And there are many files full of code. You don’t have to be a developer to relate to the challenges of digital file management. You might be someone who has thousands of files in your computer’s “Downloads” folder. Or you might be someone who has meticulously created folders for different kinds of information.

Now imagine that you needed to come up with a system that didn’t just work for you, but worked for everyone. Were someone new to join your team, they would be instantly oriented and know where to find things. And as importantly, everyone who is creating and editing these files and folders are doing so in the exact same way. Seems impossible, right?

So this December, one of our developers wrote this in explaining why she reorganized files, “I couldn’t anymore bear files in incorrect locations.” So she took it upon herself to address it. Like the compile time improvements, simple file housekeeping is a book to both developer happiness and productivity.

Want to see the results of happy developers? Sign up for a Vendorful demo.

Did you know we publish new product updates every month? Catch up on our most recent releases:

December 2020 Release Notes

December 2020 Product Updates

As a software offering, the “surface area” of Vendorful has grown considerably since we started. What was initially an eRFX point solution is now a broad Strategic Sourcing platform. There are many more modules and each of those modules has many more features. This is the natural consequence of iteration.

Since we’re working on a much larger application these days, there tends to be fewer thematic narratives around development work, but the past month saw several enhancements made to reporting. And because we get to cherry pick the releases, we’ll focus on some of those. (Since we don’t want to set an expectation that there will consistent themes, we’ll throw in one other feature that is completely unrelated!)

Improved Reporting Page for Supplier Scorecards

Vendorful allows for lots of customizations. Internal surveys for reviewing suppliers are just one of the many things that can be configured to our users’ liking. In fact, there can be different surveys for different categories of suppliers, different versions of surveys, etc. All of this flexibility is great, but not if it ratchets up complexity.

We noticed that it took too many clicks to get actionable information on the Supplier Scorecard page. So we went back to the drawing board and figured out how we can offer users the same level of configurability while simultaneously simplifying things. After several attempts, we are happy to declare, “Mission Accomplished.”

The application now picks up where you left in terms of template selection. And the remaining options are filtered (behind the scenes) accordingly. So all you need to do is pick your suppliers and the relevant date range and boom! You have a visualization. You can then refine by changing chart types, roll-up periods, additional filtering by category. (This is pretty neat; imagine you have Supplier A and Supplier B who both supply widgets to you, but also supply other distinct things with no overlap. You can now look at their aggregate results or just compare how they do on widgets.)

Scorecard UI

This scorecard data can be also be exported to PDF. Please note, the above screenshot preceded the PDF export capability by a week. If you were to log in now, you’d see the Export button. And example of the PDF is below.

Supplier Scorecard PDF

Configurable Reporting Dashboard

Vendorful users are sitting on a trove of data beyond supplier scorecards. With the new dashboard that we’ve developed, our users can determine the type of data they want for a report and the associated visualization. 

Configure a Report

Once added to the dashboard, the report can be resized and moved to a particular area via drag and drop. When users revisit their dashboard, all of the graphs and charts that they had previously configured will be there.

Reporting Dashboard

Bulk Invitations to Vendors

Our users tell us that much of the value they get from Vendorful as it relates to vendor/supplier management is the ability to see all the data in one place. Compliance info, spend, performance, contracts…. And while relationships are largely managed on a one-to-one basis, there are times when doing things in bulk would come in really handy.

Last month, we built out the infrastructure for doing bulk management of vendors and released the first bulk feature: “Invite vendors to update attributes.” Attribute data that expires, like a Certificate of Insurance, will automatically prompt the vendor to update it. But this bulk capability allows mass, proactive solicitation of data. So if your organization decides that it needs, for example, new W-9s from every supplier, you can now request this with the click of a button.

Want to check out these new features in action? Sign up for a Vendorful demo.

Did you know we publish new product updates every month? Catch up on our most recent releases:

November 2020 Release

November 2020 Product Updates

You’ve got your spring cleaning; we’ve got our fall cleaning. The unofficial beginning of Autumn – followed, weeks later, by the vernal equinox – marked a good time for us to do some maintenance on our product. Lots of small bugs were fixed, code was refactored, and lingering issues given some TLC.

We also found time to release some new features and enhancements. Since no one is interested in doing a deep dive on code clean up, we’ll stick with the features. 😊

Supplier Performance Metrics

Some time ago, we rolled out survey-based Scorecards. You set up a survey, select the invitees, determine a cadence, and off it goes. The stakeholders who receive the survey can quickly fill it out and the aggregated data turns into a score. But what about other data that indicates whether or not supplier are performant? That data often lives in an ERP system like SAP or Oracle. And it’s often a challenge to take targeted information from those systems and turn them into actionable data.

That’s where our new “Metrics” feature comes in. In the spirit of “what gets measured gets managed,” Vendorful makes it easy to turn raw data into visual stories. What kind of data? Here’s the cool part – it works with all kinds of data. As long as the data can be classified in some way, it can be imported into Vendorful. Here is an example of how this could be used.

Imagine you’re an apparel company and you have suppliers who sell you cotton, leather, buttons, zippers, etc. When the products are received, the vast majority are accepted, but some percentage of them are rejected due to flaws. All of this data is being collected and stored in your ERP, but it’s effectively invisible to you unless you proactively mine it and generate reports. With Vendorful, you can quickly turn this information into visible metrics.

Now, imagine you want to add another layer of information. Supplier X delivers quality products 97.6% of the time, but what about the timing? Simply set up an additional metric to report on what’s on time, what’s later, and what never arrived. In minutes, you can have actionable information to support key supply-chain decisions.

Supplier Metrics Setup

Set up the Supplier Metrics. you want to track.

Once you’ve configured your metrics and starting feeding your supplier data into Vendorful, you can get an instant “at-a-glance” understanding of performance.

Display Supplier Metrics

Updated Survey Results Page

While Metrics are quite useful, we expect that the feature will be used to complement human-completed performance surveys. After seeing an uptick in usage of that feature and collecting feedback from our customers, we decided it was time to rethink how we display aggregated survey data. You’ve long been able to see the results on a single page, but now you can expand each question to see how individual users’ evaluations stack up. Or scroll to the bottom and take a per-user view.

Survey Review Page

In-App Access to Support

You send us emails. You look at our support documents. Now you can do both without even leaving the page that you’re on. In the lower-right corner of the Vendorful application, there is now a help icon. When clicked, it expands and allows users to easily search for documents in our knowledge base as well as contact our support team. Though only recently rolled out, this has already become our leading channel for customer support.

In-App Help

Want to check out these new features in action? Sign up for a Vendorful demo.

Did you know we publish new product updates every month? Catch up on our most recent releases:

October 2020 Release Notes

October 2020 Product Updates

There were no Halloween frights at Vendorful. And social distancing kept the team far from candy. But we did roll out a variety of improvements to our product. Again, since we don’t want to put you to sleep, we’ll focus pretty narrowly on some of the more impactful changes.

More Efficient Auctions

When you begin building software, you invariably go through a series of discussions about “use cases.” The idea is to walk through all the different ways that people might use your product or perhaps a feature of your product. The problem is that no matter how creative or thoughtful the group of people engaged in these conversations are, there are invariably use cases that are never contemplated.

We encountered this recently when we had a customer that wanted to have a live real-time reverse auction with 60 bidders. On its face, 60 doesn’t seem like a scale challenge, but with reverse auctions, there is complexity that is hidden below the surface.

Fairness is the most important component of a reverse auction. If the suppliers don’t all have the same information and opportunities, the integrity of the even will be undermined. How does an unusually large auction post a challenge?

  1. There is a lot more data that is being generated. It’s not an unreasonably large amount, but it’s compounded by that fact that
  2. All the bidders need to have all the key information about their own bids as well as the other bids. (In this case, we were dealing with a ranked auction so it’s not a matter of simply determining if the new bid is the best bid, but rather seeing where the new bid ranks among all the current bids.) And again, this isn’t necessarily a huge technical challenge, but 
  3. Some users have very slow Internet connections. Since an auction is a real-time event, we need to ensure that all users have the same information at the same time. A user that is has poor connectivity runs the risk of getting information after its competitors. That can’t be allowed to happen.

There are a variety of changes that we implemented to make sure that the Vendorful reverse auctions remain fair, even when scaling to many more participants than is typical, and even when those participants are spread across the world with latency and network slowdowns. But, since there was no change in the user interface, we don’t have a cute screenshot for you. 😊

Multiple Warning Stages for Expiring Attributes

When a Certificate of Insurance or other key documents or data expire, the buying organization takes on unnecessary risk. Expired data is often why lawsuits are lost, audits are failed, and people are fired. Historically, Vendorful would alert users to expiring data a week in advance and then again once the data has expired. The challenge here is that a week might not provide enough time to correct the problem.

Now Vendorful has four different states for expiring data, each of which is associated with a color:

  • White: attribute is not expiring soon.
  • Yellow: attribute is expiring between 8 and 30 days.
  • Orange: attribute is expiring between 0 and 7 days.
  • Red: attribute is expired.

Color Coding for Attribute Expiration

In addition to the visual changes, Vendorful now sends notifications when entering any of the expiration stages to proactively remind the recipient.

Enhanced Exports

Whether they are using existing enterprise systems and filling gaps or if the current state of the art at an organization is the MS Office Suite, many of our prospective customers are using Excel for an inordinate amount of their work day. So they reach out to us, hoping that they can leverage an easy-to-use application that automates processes and “de-silos” information. And this is what we do. So it’s more than a little ironic that one of the most frequently recurring asks is for more export capabilities, particularly to Excel!

Ask and ye shall receive! This month, we added more export options. Vendor attributes can now be exported to PDF in addition to Excel. We also made the spreadsheet pricing table — which typically involves with an Excel-created document being imported into Vendorful — exportable as a native Excel file.

Want to check out these new features in action? Sign up for a Vendorful demo.

Did you know we publish new product updates every month? Catch up on our most recent releases:

September 2020 Product Update

September 2020 Product Updates

You’ve got your spring cleaning; we’ve got our fall cleaning. The unofficial beginning of Autumn – followed, weeks later, by the vernal equinox – marked a good time for us to do some maintenance on our product. Lots of small bugs were fixed, code was refactored, and lingering issues given some TLC.

We also found time to release some new features and enhancements. Since no one is interested in doing a deep dive on code clean up, we’ll stick with the features. 😊

Supplier Performance Metrics

Some time ago, we rolled out survey-based Scorecards. You set up a survey, select the invitees, determine a cadence, and off it goes. The stakeholders who receive the survey can quickly fill it out and the aggregated data turns into a score. But what about other data that indicates whether or not supplier are performant? That data often lives in an ERP system like SAP or Oracle. And it’s often a challenge to take targeted information from those systems and turn them into actionable data.

That’s where our new “Metrics” feature comes in. In the spirit of “what gets measured gets managed,” Vendorful makes it easy to turn raw data into visual stories. What kind of data? Here’s the cool part – it works with all kinds of data. As long as the data can be classified in some way, it can be imported into Vendorful. Here is an example of how this could be used.

Imagine you’re an apparel company and you have suppliers who sell you cotton, leather, buttons, zippers, etc. When the products are received, the vast majority are accepted, but some percentage of them are rejected due to flaws. All of this data is being collected and stored in your ERP, but it’s effectively invisible to you unless you proactively mine it and generate reports. With Vendorful, you can quickly turn this information into visible metrics.

Now, imagine you want to add another layer of information. Supplier X delivers quality products 97.6% of the time, but what about the timing? Simply set up an additional metric to report on what’s on time, what’s later, and what never arrived. In minutes, you can have actionable information to support key supply-chain decisions.

Supplier Metrics Setup

Set up the Supplier Metrics. you want to track.

Once you’ve configured your metrics and starting feeding your supplier data into Vendorful, you can get an instant “at-a-glance” understanding of performance.

Display Supplier Metrics

Updated Survey Results Page

While Metrics are quite useful, we expect that the feature will be used to complement human-completed performance surveys. After seeing an uptick in usage of that feature and collecting feedback from our customers, we decided it was time to rethink how we display aggregated survey data. You’ve long been able to see the results on a single page, but now you can expand each question to see how individual users’ evaluations stack up. Or scroll to the bottom and take a per-user view.

Survey Review Page

In-App Access to Support

You send us emails. You look at our support documents. Now you can do both without even leaving the page that you’re on. In the lower-right corner of the Vendorful application, there is now a help icon. When clicked, it expands and allows users to easily search for documents in our knowledge base as well as contact our support team. Though only recently rolled out, this has already become our leading channel for customer support.

In-App Help

Want to check out these new features in action? Sign up for a Vendorful demo.

Did you know we publish new product updates every month? Catch up on our most recent releases: