Casey’s General Stores’ new supplier management tool is the next step in the company’s goal to build a procurement system and bring more efficiency, simplicity and transparency to onboarding and managing suppliers, said Jaime Robles, VP of procurement and sourcing for Casey’s.
“The team, the process, the technology — we’ve been building that for the past few years,” he said. “It’s about building best-of-breed technologies that help us operate day to day.”
The tool, Graphite Connect, operates as a social network that securely manages procurement data and supplier risk. It conducts supplier discovery and onboarding; and risk, relationship, task and performance management all in one place.
Robles said Graphite Connect will help Casey’s solve the headaches of outdated and inaccurate supplier data feeding into critical business systems. When asked to elaborate on this, he noted that companies, like Casey's, work with thousands of suppliers and have master records containing supplier information. Every year, all of that information becomes obsolete, since suppliers frequently change addresses, update their facilities, change their banking information and more.
Now, whenever Casey’s wants to work with a new supplier, they simply send the supplier the link to Graphite Connect, where the supplier inputs their information into the system.
“Normally, teams manually put this information into the system and fix supplier records and keep it up to date,” he said. “With Graphite, it’ll allow us to stop doing all that.”
Casey’s is Graphite Connect’s first client in the c-store industry, Robles said. Graphite Connect did not respond by press time to a request for more information on its partnership with the c-store chain.
By working with Graphite Connect, Casey’s will be creating its own “digital procurement hub,” Robles said. This hub will have supplier contacts, records, scorecards from previous partnerships, and even information on the supplier’s stances on things like environmental sustainability and human rights.
From a risk management perspective, Casey’s will now have supplier evaluations in place via Graphite Connect. Casey’s will be able to see what sort of work suppliers have done in recent years, and how they were rated. Having these capabilities will help reduce supplier fraud, which can unfortunately happen when suppliers aren’t totally honest about their capabilities, Robles said.
“Imagine tomorrow I need a new plastics supplier — let me see the supplier data hub and who those suppliers have dealt with,” he said.
Robles believes about 80% of Casey’s interactions with suppliers will be digital moving forward, which will strongly benefit the company.
“We manage 18,000 supplier records today,” he said. “[The] supplier will [now] take care of all that data entry.”