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Better and Faster Supplier Assessment at ProRail

Marianne Hafkenscheid (External Quality Advisor) & Albert Boersma (Development Specialist) work in the ILM (Procurement Intelligence & Supplier Management) department of Procurement at ProRail. Albert says: "In order to be able to procure quality and price consciously, at ProRail we need information on how we currently procure, how many suppliers we have in a particular category, and whether we are satisfied with these suppliers. All this information is available from ISPnext's solutions." 


Vendor Rating in ISPnext

ProRail started ISPnext, previously called Vendorlink, in 2013 to facilitate Vendor Rating as an automated process. "We were already doing performance measurement, but that was very difficult to maintain in the Excel sheets we were using at the time," Marianne explained. “We chose to automate our performance measurements, and in collaboration with ISPnext, we succeeded. We send out about 600 surveys each quarter, allowing employees to rate our suppliers on a scale of 1 to 10." 

Contracts at ProRail are entered into SAP and transferred to ISPnext's solution. “We measure performance on those contracts," says Marianne. "Without automation, this would be a tall order. We are very proud that we can now automatically measure contract performance and monitor supplier performance." 

Within ProRail, each department determines the criteria by which they want to measure supplier performance. The contract sum, risk and importance to ProRail are leading factors. 

Double-Sided Measurement

ProRail launched a pilot of double-sided measurement last year. This means that ProRail not only evaluates its suppliers, but the suppliers also indicate how they experience cooperation with ProRail. "The double-sided measurement enables a robust conversation with the supplier. After all, we can enter the conversation better informed, using both our own rating and that of the supplier," Marianne says. "We started this pilot with engineering firms and now want to expand the process of double-sided measurement to other vendors." 

Mapping Spend by Category

One of the reasons for starting ISPnext was to be able to buy smarter based on category management: "We spend a lot of money on our core business, the railways, but also on other things like office automation and ICT solutions. Thanks to this solution, we can now interpret these categories very clearly, mapping how we purchase and detecting where the money is being spent."

Each category has its own category manager(s). Along with tender managers, procurement managers and cost engineers, these are the people within ProRail who work with ISPnext.

"We spend a lot of money on our core business, the railways, but also on other things like office automation and ICT solutions. Thanks to ISPnext, we have no problem mapping these categories."

Albert Boersma, Development Specialist | ProRail


Collaboration with ISPnext

Why Albert is so enthusiastic: "ISPnext really understands procurement. The company moves with the market; both ISPnext itself and its customers are constantly coming up with ways to buy better and smarter. In my view, many other packages lack this procurement intelligence," Albert said.

Albert is pleased with the complete picture he gets of the suppliers, "I always call it a 360-degree view of my suppliers," he explains. “I can see what contracts I have with them, how we feel about them, what spend I have with them and who within ProRail is spending money with this supplier.”

Future Vision

Albert is currently working with the category managers to implement the solutions organisation-wide. In ISPnext, the spend can be summarised in visual dashboards. Each category manager can create a dashboard of their own category and share it with the team, so the entire team can see at a glance how the category is performing. The company is also working to automate accreditations within ProRail. "The beauty of ISPnext is that when developments are completed by a user, all other ISPnext users can benefit," Marianne said. "For example, another ISPnext customer has already done the preliminary work on automating accreditations. Now we are reaping the benefits!"

About ProRail

ProRail is responsible for the rail network in the Netherlands: construction, maintenance, management and safety. It distributes railroad space as an independent party, regulates all train traffic, builds and manages stations, builds new tracks and maintains existing tracks, switches, signals and level crossings. Together with carriers, ProRail is committed to working 24/7, efficiently and with cost awareness to get passengers and freight to their destinations safely and on time. ProRail is always mindful of its environmental footprint and social impact.