A trusted partner between small service providers and large accounts

[ CONTENU PARTENAIRE ] Alliance High Tech manages suppliers on behalf of large companies. On July 1, 2020, his colleague SystemGIE joined the company. Together, they founded the Alliance Global Procurement (AGP) group. Based in France, these two players are able to handle the business of major French and international accounts. Explanations with Laurence de Rocca-Serra, President of AGP.

Can you introduce Alliance Global Procurement?

Originally, Alliance High Tech was born at the request of a large account that wanted to reduce its number of suppliers. In 2004, several SSII (computer services and engineering companies) therefore grouped together so that the purchasing department only has one point of contact. Alliance High Tech and Systemgie are now fully-fledged Outsourced Purchasing departments, still the sole interlocutors for the Major Accounts Purchasing departments.

When I took over Alliance High Tech in 2011, I made it an outsourced purchasing department. It is no longer an economic interest group, but a commercial company. We therefore play the role of intermediary between major accounts and small businesses. Alliance High Tech manages the panel of suppliers, ie we source companies able to work with these major contractors, for whom we are considered a trusted third party.

We support them in particular in the management of their calls for tenders, and in the handling of their business (orders, invoices, collection and payment) and supplier compliance monitoring. As for them, we build a relationship of trust and collaboration with them. Digital tools are obviously necessary in our activities, but we put people at the center of our services, with teams available for our contacts.

What types of key accounts and service providers are you addressing?

We cover a wide range of activities : aeronautics, automotive, banking, insurance, defense and security, Energy, gambling, naval, telecoms, transport… This diversity has enabled us to stay the course over the past two years. And today, the companies whose activity had been impacted by the crisis now have their business books full.

Among these customers, there is several types of purchases. Intellectual services (IT, engineering, etc.) experienced very few drops in activity with our ESN partners, since digitalization accelerated with Covid-19 and the various confinements. On the other hand, there was indeed a slowdown in the purchase of goods, equipment and events. Nevertheless, activity has resumed well and we expect bright prospects for the future. The growth is here!

What support do you offer them?

After the Sourcing of suppliers, we ensure regular follow-ups with our customers, with reports for all cases handled, regular steering committees. On the supplier side, our support begins with the sourcing part (ie during the first contact). We take the time to understand their business, their size and their geographical locations, by questioning them, among other things, on their sector of activity and their business expertise.

Our Key Account Managers are also called upon for this first step. we need them to determine which large group a particular small business can address. Once selected, our partner is integrated into a panel of suppliers, managed by the Sourcing department of the AGP group. We then organize meetings for our partners with our sales team and our sourcing department, for help respond to calls for tenders. It is essential that a supplier identifies the process and the needs of the customer, to make him an adequate and effective proposal.

The Alliance Global Procurement Group of course secures its customers by paying great attention to the financial health of our suppliers/partners. If our analysis platform alerts us to a subject, for example, our Risk Manager takes care of it immediately. He informs the sales representative, and both work on the problem to be dealt with so as not to put the service(s) at risk. It’s a rare situation, but we always knew how to find a solution.

At the same time, our goal is to help small businesses grow, and to put them in contact with large groups, according to their ability to meet their needs. We are proud to support VSEs and SMEs in their growth. Therefore, both the partner and the key account receive as much attention on our part, with fair contracting. As such, we are working to achieve the Responsible Suppliers and Purchasing Label, created by the Business Mediator and the Ministry of the Economy. We have already signed the charter!

What do you bring in terms of CSR?

We bring solutions to boost local employment. By helping large companies to find resources near their sites, we contribute to the animation of the local ecosystem. Moreover, this proximity is one of the criteria required by the purchasing departments. It is synonymous with less travel, and therefore less pollution.

Furthermore, Alliance High Tech has been the southern branch of ObsAR, the Responsible Purchasing Observatory, for 10 years. Every year, this institution produces a barometer to measure the trends and evolution of responsible purchasing. ObsAR thus promotes the dissemination of good practices in responsible purchasing.

We have adapted this system on our side, trying to monitor what VSEs are implementing in terms of CSR. This approach is part of a desire for continuous improvement. Without interfering in the company’s CSR policy, we encourage it to improve by being proactive. Our own group is working on its own points to improve internally. For example, we switched to electronic signature more than 7 years ago.

Is there one subject more than another that complicates your daily tasks?

Financial issues are of course at the heart of our concerns. Moreover, they are taken into account in the preparation of the Responsible Suppliers and Purchasing Label. It dwells on the settlement and late settlement of certain large accounts, which can then endanger small companies. For our part, the group fortunately benefits from a solid financial capacity. We work to help the large account to organize faster processes so that the supplier is paid on time. For these two worlds to work together, pedagogy and support on a case-by-case basis are essential..

Finally, do you see any particular changes?

Intellectual service, mainly IT, is a field that is constantly evolving, enriched by new technologies and new professions. For example, we have good relations with La Platform, a new digital school based in Marseille based on inclusion. We promote the school to our partners, so that they take work-study contracts in their company.

Finally, we have seen an evolution in the needs of our customers. They increasingly wish to entrust their purchases by having a dynamic view of the entire business life cycle (the call for tenders, the order, the follow-up, etc.). To do this, digitization and dematerialization are essential. Our customers also have a very strong international outlook, to which we respond by finding the most suitable service providers for them.

On a CSR plan, Responsible Digital is becoming the priority for companies. Thus, new functions of Responsible Digital Referent appear. The objective of all is to strive for decarbonization in our activities, digital being a major subject at the center of this problem.

This content was produced with SCRIBEO. The BFMBUSINESS editorial staff did not participate in the production of this content.

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A trusted partner between small service providers and large accounts