SingleStone Case Study: Streamline Supplier Management

by Our Collective Voice

How SingleStone’s custom-built tools helped a Fortune 500 company streamline a supplier management process 

About 

Capital One Financial Corporation is a leading information-based technology company focused on helping its customers succeed by bringing ingenuity, simplicity, and humanity to banking.  Capital One’s forward-thinking business strategy and innovation-first culture uses machine learning extensively to create value for its customers and other stakeholders. 

The Challenge 

Supplier Managers are responsible for helping to ensure that the company’s suppliers abide by a set of risk controls governed by the corporate third-party management (TPM) team. Part of this process involves completing periodic Monitoring Actions associated with the relevant controls for each supplier. 

With thousands of vendors, each with dozens of monitoring actions per year, the Supplier Manager spends a significant amount of time to provide the necessary information. To help streamline the process, Capital One approached SingleStone for a solution to reduce back-and-forth communication between Supplier Managers and vendors while ensuring that each monitoring action is completed on time, thereby freeing up Supplier Managers to spend time on more value-added activities. 

The Process 

To arm the company’s suppliers with a self-service tool, we built a Supplier Portal, where suppliers can log in and review upcoming monitoring actions as well as provide documentation. The portal also functions to alert suppliers when monitoring actions are due with increasing frequency as the due date approaches. 

Capital One supplier management process

To help suppliers with change management for the new process, we built a high-fidelity, clickable visual prototype and conducted user trials with a small subset of suppliers. The success of these user trials gave ESM leadership the confidence that suppliers would successfully adapt to the change. 

ESM has an existing tool (TPM Central) built on the Salesforce platform to track supplier information, controls and monitoring actions, and other supplier-related data. Building onto this platform was the logical first step; however, we determined it was more cost efficient to build a custom portal (hosted in AWS) that integrates with the TPM Central application using custom APIs. 

We built a custom web-based application using React for the user interface, Java for the middleware components and a Postgres database. The application is hosted in AWS. We used Docker containers and the Elastic Container Service (ECS) for compute, Relational Database Service (RDS) for data persistence and Simple Storage Service (S3) for file storage. The application auto-scales and is fault-tolerant across multiple Availability Zones. We used infrastructure as code techniques to fully automate the provisioning and deployment of the application. A new version of the application can be stood up in another region in a matter of minutes. 

The Outcome 

The efficiency gains from this application are exciting, but it’s just the beginning. We worked with ESM to stand up and staff an Innovation Lab to experiment with advanced technology such as automated document validation using machine learning, rule-based approaches and chatbots. These experiments have been extremely successful and should make their way into the hands of users sometime in 2020. 

Our Collective Voice

Our Collective Voice

At SingleStone, we work with you to design, build, and implement custom tech solutions you need to scale enterprise speed, innovation, and agility. We are experts in the methods and technologies that are transforming the way people think and work.

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