Public Buyers

Assessing suppliers helps us maintain high quality standards

Volker Energy Solutions has 17,000 employees in four European countries. "We want to be a professional client. So we want to work only with the best, and supplier assessment helps us achieve this." Our purchasing department ran a pilot project with Mercell's system and five suppliers in 2016. Since then, we have been systematically assessing our contractors.

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Quality assurance is the foundation of trust

Mercell's assessment system forms part of the supplier management tool, which we have been using for more than a year. ‘We use Mercell for just about everything: requests for offers, contract management, and supplier management. At the start of a project, we purchase various products and services. This could be anything: steel, transformers, architectural work and civil engineering, for example. Suppliers submit their offers via Mercell. From the offers we receive, we select a party with which we will do business. It’s not only about the price, but also about quality. We want to know whether a supplier can fulfil what it promises.’

A fixed group of suppliers

‘To be competitive, we want to work only with professional suppliers who in collaboration with us will perform well for our customers and our stakeholders. For that reason, we decided to pick a fixed group of suppliers with a high quality level. In a pre-selection round, we ask the suppliers to fill out a questionnaire. Matters we examine include their certificates, turnover data, employee quality and reference projects. If we decide to do business with a supplier, we then conclude a master contract.’

Satisfied stakeholders

‘But we want to measure quality continuously. That’s why we now use this assessment system. This again occurs through Mercell. When a project has been completed, or a milestone has been reached, the supplier and the project leader fill in a questionnaire about functions and performance. Based on these questions, we have a conversation.’

It's about knowing whether the suppliers can fulfil their promises"

‘These talks can be difficult; suppliers are sometimes reluctant to be honest because at the end of the day it’s about their client. But openness is actually what we want to encourage. Everybody learns from it. The talk brings us closer together. This kind of assessment obviously takes extra time. But we get a lot in return: the best suppliers, more efficient and safer working practices, stakeholders who are satisfied. The intention is to sit down and talk to each supplier at least twice a year. We discuss the progress being made and the various assessments.’

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