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Sourceability: From Distributor to Game Changer in a 400 Billion Dollar Market

DIGITIZING AN ALREADY SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS AND TRANSFORMING AN ENTIRE INDUSTRY

500 million searchable products, 220 distributors, thousands of new customers – that is Sourceability’s success story only three years after market entry. In 2015, the American company set out to redefine the electronic components business. Its playing field: a 400 billion dollar market determined by tradition, manual processes and locally oriented supply chains. We are guiding Sourceability in its digital transformation – and simultaneously accelerating the procurement process of an entire industry from days or even weeks to a matter of minutes.

Background

When Sourceability CEO Jens Gamperl founded his company in the electronic components business, he had a vision: digitizing, globalizing and transforming the entire 400 billion dollar market.

With 18 offices and warehouses distributed globally in Asia, the USA, Central America, as well as Europe, Sourceability saves its customers a lot of effort. Account managers request quotes from dozens of distributors, compare prices, coordinate delivery dates and ensure high product quality.

Until now, though, the procurement process was hardly been digitized: Requested bills of material with hundreds of thousands of items had to be manually priced, quoted, squared with customers’ ERP systems and finally, ordered by the Sourceability team. The problem: As soon as the offer is written down, prices may already have changed.

The task

Our main task was digitizing Sourceability’s business model in order for the company to transform from being a distributor of goods to a provider of solutions and technologies. To achieve that, three goals were set. The procurement process had to be made more efficient for Sourceability’s customers and its own account managers, global access to products had to be made possible and absolute transparency with regard to prices and availability had to be established. In short: plattform economics in its purest form.

Central to this project was building a technological platform that guarantees Sourceability global scalability. First, we had to formulate precise requirements and plan a realistic roadmap for software development. Then, we designed the appropriate system architecture. The execution phase yielded additional requirements. For example, existing customers needed to be able to integrate their own ERP systems and suppliers into the platform.

The solution

The result is the digital marketplace called Sourcengine, which takes into account interests of all parties involved in procurement and guarantees process efficiency, global access to products and price transparency. The system’s requirements are immense: 550 million products have to be processed and be made searchable. The platform is integrated with various third-party systems and, at the same time, makes it possible to request quotations and inventory information from hundreds of distributors.

We designed a system architecture that consists of freely scalable modules. That is why we decided on Spryker Commerce OS to power Sourcengine’s as its core system, as well as use Elasticsearch. Two of our agile teams made up of 15 software developers and two core developers provided by the Spryker Professional Service were tasked with executing the project. With regard to the frontend side, customer centricity was our main focus: Put simply, we had to make the order process as comprehensible and user friendly as possible.

Two pivotal requirements were guaranteeing high software quality and ensure continuous acceptance of features by the customer. We were able to fulfill these with a continuous integration pipeline developed in-house, which is based in Gitlab CI, Kubernetes clusters and Docker containers.

» My congratulations go to Turbine Kreuzberg. I couldn’t have imagined the broad scope and high degree of satisfaction to which you handled this project. «

Jens Gamperl, CEO Sourceability

Weeks shrink down to minutes
The extreme efficiency gains in the procurement process don’t just excite Sourceability, but also its customers and suppliers, as well as the developers involved in the project. Whereas in the past ordering could take several days or even weeks, now it just takes a few minutes. Today, for example, the purchaser uploads a bill of material with thousands of items to Sourcengine via drag-and-drop and receives prices and availability in a matter of minutes. In addition, purchasers can now optimize offer lists with regard to prices or delivery dates.

Another benefit of Sourcengine is its flexibility: Customers can plan partial deliveries for various production sites ahead up to twelve months. Multi-stage authorization processes of purchasing organisations are also taken into account by the system.

We are partnering with Sourceability over the long term and are continuously developing Sourcengine.

Services

  • Consulting on business model digitization
  • Drafting and managing of requirements
  • System architecture design
  • User experience and interface design
  • Platform development with Spryker Commerce OS and Vue.js
  • Search realization with Elasticsearch
  • Infrastructure support
  • System integration of middleware and CRM
  • Continuous integration with our CI pipeline based on Gitlab CI, Kubernetes clusters and Docker containers



Jens Gamperl, CEO Sourceability, interviewed by Daniel Nill (German).
Deep Dive on Technologies: Baldur Rensch, CTO Sourceability, interviewed by Bernd Alter (German).