All things considered, cost-effective vendor and supplier management has never been more important. Following the company’s well-deserved recognition as the ‘UK’s Most Outstanding Vendor Management Firm of the Year’, we spoke with Brooklyn Vendor Assurance’s CEO, Jesse Lee, to find out how they aim to deliver supply chain innovation to its clients.
CEO Monthly: To start – what do you do? What is your unique value proposition?
Jesse Lee: Sure thing, and thanks Laura and to CEO Magazine for this award of UK’s Most Outstanding Vendor Management Firm of the Year, 2020. We are honoured!
As one might gather from the award itself, we specialize in Vendor Management. Our customers are the Procurement and Compliance offices of medium and large enterprises across all industry verticals. Our flagship product, Brooklyn Vendor Assurance (BVA), is a B2B SaaS application for vendor management and regulatory compliance across one’s supply chain.
We call this “vendor assurance,” and specialists in this discipline will tell you it is almost always notoriously opaque and poorly governed — yet the technology used to manage these vendors is weak and usually no more sophisticated than Excel spreadsheets, Sharepoint, and email. This situation leaves companies, in particular regulated companies, vulnerable to an average of 9.2% contract value leakage per year, to multi-million pound regulatory fines, and to unmitigated risks and severe damage to their brand.
So we want to empower our customers to turn that situation around, through an app that is very easy to understand and use, and that brings automation and optics like nobody in Procurement or Compliance has ever seen before. Our users very efficiently and effectively manage supplier contracts, risk, performance, and relationships – not to mention, drive innovation and fulfill Boardlevel mandates around corporate social responsibility (CSR) and “responsible sourcing” across the vendors.
CM: What is your founding mission? What are your values? Have they changed?
JL: Our mission is to ensure our customers receive maximum value for money, and drive compliance to regulatory mandates, across their supply chain.
Our values, to summarize, are all about building the very best products, backed by the best people with a deep will-to-win, which will produce wildly successful customers. This happens when we foster accountability, transparency, trust, and introspection.
Honestly, our values and vision are unchanged since day one. We saw so much inefficiency and waste for so long, in this supplychain discipline, and the more we learned about the root causes, the more passionate we became about solving this challenge and becoming the world’s musthave supply chain management platform.
CM: How are you coping with Covid-19?
JL: Like any company, we have had our share of challenges, but the big gorilla these days is of course Covid-19. The main challenge as of this writing in April 2020 consist of the market pulling back on spending for anything new, for a matter of weeks or months, even for superstrategic investments like BVA.
That said, we believe there will be some big winners out of this Covid-19 chapter we are living through now. Medium and larger enterprises will look to digitally enable themselves further, for the sake of remote working and for applying best practices and transparent workflows. Specific to what we do around supply chain and vendor management, they will experience and acknowledge the shortcomings of all those cut corners in the area of supply chain transparency and management. The only way to protect against upheaval next time is to build in more resilience, to automate a great percentage of the work that they do manually today (or just don’t do at all), and to govern the supply chain more effectively. This is and always was the exact purpose for which BVA was built, which augers well for the future of our company.
CM: Tell us about the Covid-19 Resilience Centre that you created.
JL: We are so fortunate in that what we do at a core level is something that can help others survive and even thrive in this strange new world we now share. The most impactful thing we could do was open up our platform and content for free, and that is what we have done in the form of the BVA Covid-19 Resilience Centre. Companies in distress re. their suppliers can use the solution, for free, and take advantage of risk identification and management measures, as well as AI-driven automation and information gathering all across their supply chain. Everything that we learn re. managing through these tough times, we feed back into the platform and make it available to all comers, as best we can, for free. The Only Choice for Best in Class Vendor and Supplier Management
CM: How would you describe the Brooklyn Vendor Assurance culture, and how do you shape and maintain it?
JL: Company culture lives and expresses through the entire company staff, no matter what the CEO wants or says. So in the name of building our culture and living our values of transparency, accountability and trust, we share more information than most companies do, across staff and across most trusted partners. It is a given that everyone here works both very smart AND very hard. We all expect it of everyone else, and it is rewarded where it happens. I try hard to draw out the best ideas from the very best people (and you need to BE the best to work here), and to ensure all staff are invested deeply in the mission.
The balance to maintain here, with all this opinion sharing, is to have very clear ownership where it matters and not to fall into management by committee. I think we have that balance, and my role is to keep fostering that personal contribution from anyone who has more to contribute to our goals.
CM: Thank you and good luck to everyone in BVA!
JL: Thank you, Laura and team. Everyone stay safe and healthy out there!