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Author: Hannah Butterworth

Our eagerly anticipated improved client portal is now live

Last week we announced the launch of the new and improved supplier portal, and now our enhanced client portal is also live ….

 

Along with the all new fresh look, there are new features our clients can now take advantage off, all at no extra cost…

 

Shortlisted Supplier Questions (SSQ’s)

Clients now have the ability to upload their tender documents to the InTouch portal, invite targeted suppliers to tender and then create additional questions relating to the tender that they would also like to ask.

Only relevant suppliers are invited, and they will only answer the extra questions if they wish to tender. A useful tool to target preferred suppliers, safe in the knowledge that all information in the portal is fully up to date.

 

Private Notes on Supplier Profiles

We have now given clients the ability to add ‘private’ notes to supplier profiles. These can be personal to user or shared across all users within the organisation if required.

Clients use InTouch as their ‘central supplier pool’ and now they have the added ability to also use it to share notes about these suppliers across their business. This has a huge impact to efficiency and safeguarding.

Search Feature

This upgrade revamps the previous ‘search builder’ tool and is now highlighted as a handy widget on the InTouch dashboard.

Clients have the ability to search, filter, resume searches (previously left unfinished) and save these searches for future reference. Perfect for clients looking to source new suppliers that are Altius Assured.

We welcome the new and improved supplier portal

We are delighted to launch the all new supplier portal, bringing enhanced features, value adds tools and new upgrading options….

Resource Library We have been helping our suppliers to gain their accreditation’s for many years, and now we are sharing our expertise with you

These templates and fact sheets are designed to help suppliers bring improved business efficiency, along with assisting suppliers to gain our accreditation’s.

Templates include: Insurance Method Statement, Risk Assessment, Site Inspection, Subcontractor PQQ, COSHH

Fact sheets include: Requirement, Health and Safety Advisers, PPE, Method Statement, RIDDOR Reporting , SSIP, Welfare Provision, Consultation and Information, Subcontracting, Asbestos, CDM Regulations, Company Overview, CPD, CPD for Health & Safety Advisers, Working with Electricity, Employers Liability Insurance

Introducing the ‘Elite Vendor’ Award Perfect for suppliers wanting to stand out from their competitors by demonstrating a commitment to best practice in the five areas most commonly analysed (Commercial, Quality, Risk Management, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Customer Service)

Elite Vendors receive all the benefits of the Altius Assured award (including CDMComply where applicable) along with:

Priority listing in InTouch and client reporting

Ability to demonstrate corporate and ethical footprint

Personalised Elite Vendor Certificate printed to form part of the welcome pack

Elite Vendor Vehicle and Window Sticker to show your achievement

Elite Vendor Award engraved with their company details to display

Elite Vendors Page Listing to show company logo and profile on www.altiusva.com

Additional Resources to help you improve business efficiency; including Anti Bribery Policy, Environmental Policy Statement, Corporate Social Responsibility Policy Statement, Equal Opportunities Policy, Quality Policy, Environmental Management system fact-sheet.

Additional features due for release over the coming weeks….

Looking to join Altius? Visit our shop for more information, including details on Elite Vendor

Supplier Assessment Services acquire Altius VA Ltd

Supplier Assessment Services, a leading provider of technology-enabled third-party pre-qualification and health and safety accreditation services in the UK, today announced its acquisition of Derby-based supply chain performance specialists, Altius VA Ltd.

Supplier Assessment Services, which was recently purchased by private equity firm Warburg Pincus, provides – through its Constructionline and Acclaim brands – specialist governance, risk and compliance services to both public and private sector customers in the construction, facilities management, education and utilities industries.

Altius’ products and services perfectly complement those of Supplier Assessment Services bolstering the company’s existing range of products and services with new supplier onboarding and client-specific compliance software, as well as expanding the international markets in which it operates.  Following the launch of its Exigo software platform, Altius has seen rapid growth in retail, food and beverage and real estate markets, as well as the recent win of the Railway Industry Supplier Qualification (RISQS) tender.

 

Gary Plant, Chief Executive Officer of Altius VA Ltd, commented:

“We are excited to become part of the Supplier Assessment Services group. Together, our organisations have solutions that will reduce risk, cut costs and add significant value to any client’s business, large or small.”

 

John Edmunds, Chief Executive Officer of Supplier Assessment Services, commented:

“We see a significant growth opportunity for supply chain services outside our core specialism in the construction sector and we are convinced that Altius will enable us to realise that opportunity more quickly with an already established presence in rail, retail and property management. Furthermore, Altius’ platform flexibility, client customisation and onboarding services are the perfect fit for our own pre-qualification and validation services, supporting our vision to become the most connected and progressive provider of governance, risk and compliance services to all our customers, enabling our clients to be more competitive.”

 

Altius roll out Incident Reporting tool

Perfect for more complex and bespoke incident reporting Altius’s new Health & Safety tool rivals existing ‘out of the box’ systems. Used by leading retailer Debenhams the tool is fully configurable offering a truly flexible approach to reporting and tracking incidents.

 Product Info

In addition to the vast range of features listed above, there is also the option for additional categories of incident. Currently available are: Arrest  – where an arrest has been made in store, this covers all the details of the arrest, including police incident numbers and, if there is also an injury, links to the accident report to monitor its progress. Food Services – which includes illness from any items bought in store or sold by an in-store cafe. It can also include any foreign objects found in prepared food. Other categories will continue to be released.

What Debenhams say:

“Feedback on the system was nothing but positive comments. The stores love the system and find it easy to use, and it’s no exaggeration to say words like “brilliant” and “fantastic” were flowing freely”.

Read the full case study for Debenhams here….. or download the full case study pack below.

To find out more about the exciting release, email the Altius team on enquiries@altiusva.com.

See how Altius’ Exigo software is favoured by M&S

With 1025 UK and 454 international stores over 50 territories, M&S is one of the UK’s leading retailers…

Their commitment to “making every moment special” for customers means they are always keen to implement the latest sourcing and compliance technologies to ensure consistent high-quality service.

Background

Back in 2016 Altius were contacted by M&S who expressed interest in the Altius software platform. By the end of that same year, Altius were commissioned to implement Exigo into M&S.

Through implementation, Altius worked closely with 4 different departments within M&S to create appropriate questions for their specific working areas, such as Project Delivery, Retail, Equipment Supply Base and Facility Management.

From this, Altius adapted the Exigo platform to include suitable service categories that matched the M&S supply chain products and services. This was achieved through the creation of a question matrix which sits in the background of the system, allowing the appropriate questions to be asked of each supplier, based solely on the product/service they offer to M&S.

The Result

As it stands, M&S currently have 243 suppliers on their Exigo system who average around 90% compliance daily, hugely supported by M&S’ choice to outsource assessments back to the Altius assessment team who work to a consistent 2-day turnaround on every assessment. This is a vast improvement from the previous M&S partner who only achieved 4% compliance with a handful of suppliers that joined the scheme.

“We were elated when Marks and Spencer got in touch with us. Our relationship has gone from strength to strength and we continue to work closely with M&S to adapt their Exigo platform to their changing business needs” Len Simmons, COO Altius VA Ltd

“The Exigo platform offered by Altius ensures our supply base are competent and fit-for-purpose; this married with the platform’s ability to evolve with ever changing business needs is integral to achieving the fast pace of change required to compete in the rapidly shifting retail environment. Altius are the essential cog in maintaining legislative governance and compliance across an expansive M&S supply chain.” 

Mitchell Goosen, Head of Programme Office, Property at Marks and Spencer

Improved RISQS platform launched for the rail industry

Altius VA have worked with RSSB to deliver a newly improved and modernised Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (RISQS) platform, which launched on May 1st.

The new RISQS portal will act as the single entry point for suppliers to the rail industry, giving suppliers the platform to demonstrate their capabilities as providers of rail industry products and services.

With the ongoing support of key players Network Rail and Transport for London, Altius VA Ltd will operate the front end of the RISQS IT platform and verification services.

The early, and expected, impact

The new RISQS platform has made an instant impact by offering scheme members a quicker, smarter, easier interface to the only recognised scheme run by and working for the rail industry.

The scheme supports rail giants Network Rail and Transport for London, as well as passenger and freight operating companies, main infrastructure contractors and various buying organisations to manage their supply chain risk.

RISQS is crucial to the safe and cost-effective procurement of railway products and services, assuring that 110-plus buyers can confidently do business with over 4,300 suppliers.

How it works

Although RISQS remains the single-entry point for suppliers and buyers, the new platform addresses many issues with its predecessor, such as an inflexible IT system and the inability to access data to use for learning and improvement.

The new RISQS software platform has the potential to more easily integrate with buyer systems, and includes time-saving features such as pre-population of templates, and free value-adding tools like notice of EU tenders for suppliers.

 

The power of advanced software on the rail industry

As a cutting-edge IT and compliance service provider, we are delighted to have been part of a project to modernise and digitise the rail industry, saving on costs and significantly benefiting both suppliers and buyers through software.

Our experience working with supply chains to reduce cost and risk means RISQS is now smarter, more accessible and quicker than ever before.

Graeme Cox, RSSB Head of Supplier Assurance, said: “We strongly believe that the improvements meet the long-standing demands of our industry for a modern, effective and efficient supplier assurance system, and crucially one that can – and will – keep changing to meet industry demands.

“RISQS ‘oils the wheels’ of the GB rail market, saving the 110-plus buyers from auditing individually each of the 4,300-plus suppliers, creating substantial economies of scale and ensuring consistency. Today we have enhanced it significantly for both buyers and suppliers.”

 

 

Assess your own supply chain performance

The rail industry is now reaping the benefits of modern software, which will enhance supply chain transparency and make processes safer and more efficient for years to come.

Not sure if your own supply chain is up to scratch? Take our 12 question self-assessment quiz and learn:

Find out your supply chain performance score by downloading the self-assessment today.

What are the benefits of SSIP accreditation?

In this blog, we’ll tackle some of the most common questions regarding the SSIP accreditation, and the benefits of becoming accredited through Altius.

In a previous blog, we looked into the importance of demonstrating compliance through accreditations, particularly when it comes to health and safety regulations.

With £9.7 billion in annual costs for cases of work-related ill health in 2015/16, accreditations such as the Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) are essential for suppliers and contractors to build the trust of brands. They also demonstrate that the business is trying to actively reduce health and safety costs, and provide transparency and clarity that they are keeping up to date with compliance.

Firstly, what is the SSIP?

The SSIP is an umbrella accreditation ensuring that companies are compliant with health and safety and CDM regulations. The SSIP is also actively reducing health and safety assessment costs in the supply chain and has so far saved suppliers more than £41m since its inception.

The value, then, of SSIP accreditation is clear for suppliers who want to deliver assurance to their clients.

 

How does the SSIP accreditation demonstrate capability to clients?

Thousands of suppliers across the globe are already using the Altius supplier network as a way of proving their high health and safety standards to clients.

We understand that consistently monitoring all internal processes is difficult, especially when trying to ensure your clients are satisfied. Joining the SSIP through Altius, and having access to the Altius supplier network, gives you the support, technology, and expertise to make sure you’re health and safety regulation compliant.

Clients have chosen to work with Altius suppliers because they trust their information is consistently monitored all year round, something that similar schemes cannot offer. Altius is committed to ensuring you are accredited as quickly and as smoothly as possible, saving you time and effort for accreditation that will hold you in good stead for future clients.

 

Won’t an assessment take a long time?

If you’re looking for a quick and accurate assessment of your supply chain compliance to the most up to date health and safety standards, the team at Altius has consistently provided over 90% of suppliers their assessment report within two working days.

As part of the Altius supplier network, you’ll have quicker access to your accreditation, which will result in happier, more confident clients.

If you require accreditation quickly, you can also fast-track the process. Take a look at the full list of Altius accreditation subscriptions to learn more.

 

Where will I be listed once accredited?

When your business becomes accredited, it will be visible on the SSIP portal as a contractor, designer, principal designer or principal contractor.

You will also be listed on Altius’ online directory, CDMComply, giving you the added opportunity to win new business from clients who use CDMComply to source contractors and suppliers.

You can also share and promote your accreditation across your website, and with whoever needs access to it.

 

What are the additional benefits of the CDM Comply?

At Altius, we ensure that suppliers suppliers with alerts and updates to client requirements in real time. Using software such as the ‘Exigo’ system, you can track and manage compliance on demand.

You’ll not only get access to our multi-award winning software but also to our world-class, friendly and knowledgeable customer service team.

 

Interested in becoming SSIP accredited?

If you’re looking to join the SSIP portal, look no further than CDM Comply.

Get in touch with us today, or learn more about the network below through our dedicated web page.

 

Snow joke: How to Prepare Your Supply Chain for Bad Weather

Thick snow, gale-force winds, and flooded roads are all inevitable throughout the year.

And unfortunately, all spell trouble for supply chains across the country.

However, in an effort to save money, it is not uncommon that management can cut costs by reducing supply chain risk management. In turn, this will compromise their supply chains when bad weather strikes.

A recent report by PwC and MIT revealed that companies with mature supply chain and risk management capabilities are not only more resilient to disruptions, but also have a higher EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) margin than those who don’t make these investments.

 

Avoiding the domino effect

Smaller, more frequent supply chain disruptions can have a knock-on effect that impacts business revenue. The aforementioned report also reveals that only 44% of the companies with mature processes suffered a 3% or more decline in their revenue compared to 57% with immature processes.

Production issues, delayed transportation, and absent staff can all have an impact that, if you’re not prepared for, can damage your credibility and challenge your resources.

However, having a full understanding of the complexity of your supply chain, as well as simply being aware of the likelihood of bad weather risks, can considerably improve the chances of overcoming these challenges. A company’s ability to adapt to potential risk, including bad weather, is a reflection of its supply chain management sophistication, preparation, and flexibility.

So what should companies bear in mind the next time bad weather threatens to affect their supply chain?

 

Be proactive, not reactive

Companies that have a detailed plan to respond to potential supply chain disruptions are at a distinct advantage.

Sure, investing the time and resources into something you’ll rarely, if ever, need is difficult. But if you do need it, that plan could be the difference between sinking and swimming.

It’s important to be analytical and flexible to mitigate risk. Ask yourself: What effects could the elements have on the business?

Create alternative routes for transportation, if possible. Plan communications within your organisation, (including your salespeople) about the possibility of the weather influencing your services, to avoid unmet expectations. Test your plans practically with drills and tabletop exercises.

Having a plan at the ready will save you time and manpower to keep your supply chain afloat.

 

Have complete supply chain visibility

In order to create a plan of action, it’s essential that you have full transparency with your supply chain operations in the first place.

In a survey conducted by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), 69% of organisations claimed  that they don’t have full supply chain visibility. This gap in communication between suppliers and clients can lead to complete disaster when a disruption, such as bad weather, strikes.

As well as this, 22% claim that they do not analyse the source of disruption and are, therefore, unable to learn from it and prepare for next time.

Altius’ supply chain performance framework emphasises the importance of monitoringcapability, and management working in synchronicity to encourage full visibility of your supply chain, and ensure it is both reliable and performance-driven at all times.

Take a look at our best practice guide to find out how the framework is put into practice.

 

Utilise the right technology

In order to ensure a secure, safeguarded and transparent supply chain no matter what Mother Nature throws at you – selecting the right software is key.

In the aforementioned BCI report, 63% of organisations did not use any technology to analyse, track or monitor the performance of their supply chains, with a full 41% still reliant on spreadsheets to keep track of supply chain disruptions.

Having a more robust, all in one platform for all of your supply chain needs is essential to respond quickly to potential disruptions.

Software such as Exigo will also give a real-time view of your supplier’s status, so you can see at a glance where the potential risks are. Exigo also has automated features that removes irritating manual processes when all hands are needed on deck.

A better grasp of technology within your supply chain means you’ll be more aware of potential problems before they happen, so you can deal with them efficiently.

 

Understanding vulnerabilities

In the UK, we are lucky enough that natural disasters aren’t a common enough occurrence to cause billions of pounds worth of damage to supply chains.

However, the next time bad weather has the potential to cause disruption, it’s important that you are aware of your supply chain vulnerabilities, capabilities, and transparency to mitigate risk and weather the storm.

 

 

The importance of supplier compliance and accreditation

It’s not just the end-users that want clarity from suppliers and contractors.

Many reports, including our own future insight into the retail industry in 2020, claim that end-users are growing more concerned than ever about transparency with the products they are buying.

It is essential for brands at the top of the supply chain too, that they can trust suppliers and contractors. This trust starts by suppliers being able to prove accreditation to stringent health, safety and regulation guidelines.

 

Can you prove to be trustworthy?

When appraising suppliers, brands may take into account some, if not all, of Dr Ray Carter’s ‘10 Cs of Supplier Evaluation’. When taking supplier compliance into account, clients may consider their:

 

Introducing the Altius Supplier Network

Consistent monitoring of internal processes is essential, but it is difficult for suppliers to stay on top of everything, especially when trying to assure client satisfaction at all times.

As one of the most highly-respected accreditations available, the Altius supplier network is used by thousands of suppliers and has consistently provided 90% of suppliers with their assessment report within two working days.

Here’s a snapshot of the Altius Supplier Network…

What makes Altius different?

Altius work on a ‘live profile’ system which allows consistent compliance throughout the year. This innovative approach helps members to keep fully up to date with their own compliance, which reduces their annual burden.

Clients choose to work with the Altius suppliers because they trust the information is consistently monitored and up to date, something that similar schemes can not offer. Clients within a range of industries have spoken about the many benefits of the Altius live profile system, as well as the customer service we have been able to deliver to improve their supplier compliance.

“With this system, we have, for the first time ever, a real-time holistic view of the compliance status of our service supplier base,” said the supplier manager of a Fortune 150 consumer packaged goods company.

A world-leading advertising agency in the US also said: “Altius has helped us create efficiencies in the way we assess the security and compliance of our suppliers. By utilising the Altius portal we can create automated touch points with our suppliers, as well as generating reports, as needed, on various data points.”

Testimonials such as these demonstrate the importance of having a system that enables suppliers and clients to keep reporting and communication watertight, a clear advantage of joining the Altius Supplier Network.

To learn more about the Altius Supplier Network, take a look at our dedicated page.

 

How will blockchain revolutionise supply chain traceability?

You may already be familiar with the term ‘blockchain’ as the system behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, along with news of the growing impact it is having on the world of finance. 

But the potential influence of this technology is stretching far and wide, with supply chain industry leaders becoming more aware of the possible benefits, which include reliable monitoring, better traceability, and increased transaction security too.

This begs the question: how could blockchain technology change the supply chain industry? In their report, When two chains combine, Deloitte explores the advantages that blockchain technology can bring to supply chains across the world.  

This blog takes in the key points of the Deloitte report and looks at the biggest benefit blockchains could have on the supply chain industry, namely, better traceability of the product, from seed to shelf.

 

What is blockchain?

Blockchain is a continuously growing list of records that operates using a global peer-to-peer network.

Whenever a record or transaction is added to this computer database, also known as a universal ledger, it is copied and added to a ‘chain’ of computer code. Any transactions recorded within the blockchain will be fixed there permanently, with thousands of copies of this transaction able to verify that it took place.

On the blockchain, anything of value — money, titles, identities, contracts, and even votes — can be stored and managed privately using advanced cryptography and a consensus of transaction approval from others within the network. This means that files are impenetrable to anyone looking to tamper with the contents, as they would need to hack thousands of computers on the network at the same time.

 

Using blockchain for better supply chain traceability

The potential is there for businesses to improve their supply chain management through end-to-end tracking that is both more accurate and transparent. The blockchain has the capability to monitor events and data associated with a product, providing a full audit trail of prices, dates, locations, and certifications.

Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding for more transparency from brands and manufacturers, particularly within the food industry where 90 percent of people surveyed listed transparency as a critical factor on impacting their purchase.

A public, permissionless blockchain could be an effective and inexpensive way to trace each material used, and build confidence with increasingly environmental and socially conscious consumers.

 

The retail industry

When it comes to traceability, the retail and FMCG industries are at the forefront of new techniques and technology, such as blockchains. This is due in part to consumers wanting more information and greater transparency of how retailers operate.

As flagged in our report into the retail industry in 2020, 74% of consumers said they would be “proud” to be associated with a brand or retailer if they provided transparency and shared what the company really cares about.

In an era where consumer purchases are more ethically-driven than ever before, publicising product information from seed to shelf is imperative, not just for logistical reasons, but to win over the support of consumers worldwide.

 

The issue of modern slavery

As well as understanding where their products come from, ethically-driven consumers also want to know who is making the product they are buying.

Despite legislation in the UK stating that Modern Slavery is now illegal, 29% of businesses say they need to audit their own procurement processes to ensure they are compliant – a statistic found in our Modern Slavery Report.

Once completed, it is this kind of information that can be stored within blockchains, not only to ensure the company stays compliant, but provide ethically-driven consumers with the information they need to feel comfortable buying from a brand or retailer.

 

Other uses of blockchain?

As mentioned above, anything of value can be placed and held within the blockchain. This includes the standards and controls that provide evidence of supply chain compliance.

With all blockchain transactions timestamped and permanent, this will provide proof that all parts of the supply chain have been compliant with regulatory conditions, including health and safety checks and modern slavery compliance.

The values of blockchain are currently being increasingly investigated by pharmaceutical companies who are under regulatory pressure to effectively monitor, report, and share information and supply chain compliance measures.

 

Is the supply chain industry ready?

Although blockchain is starting to get the creative minds of the supply chain industry whirring, there is some way to go until the technology is widely adopted. We are currently still understanding the early trials of this technology, including elements such as cost, and the difficulty with linking blockchain technology to physical objects.

If companies are looking to introduce new technology, including blockchain, it is more important than ever that they get an accurate reading of the overall condition of their supply chain capabilities, management, and monitoring. Not doing so before jumping on board with new tech could prove fatal for many businesses.

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