In the Spotlight: Supply Chain Governance


Having a strong supplier governance framework in place is critical to providing the right amount of oversight to the entire supplier management process. Managing suppliers involves more than just ensuring high quality service standards are being met. It also means following the correct procurement processes, ensuring all supplier contracts are properly vetted and managed, and conducting ample due diligence, especially regarding data security and anti-corruption practices.

Mark Devlin brings extensive industry expertise to his role as Director, Supply Chain Governance and Procurement.  He shares some key insights into managing our global supplier network and ensuring governance In the Spotlight.

BGRS has a sizable network with suppliers located in countries all around the world. How does your team work to ensure suppliers are delivering services that meet clients’ and customers’ expectations?

Mark: In addition to following our standard protocols to ensure our suppliers meet our ongoing service requirements, we developed important elements of the supplier training.  When we on-board a new supplier, they receive thorough training; however, we need to ensure our supply chain is trained on an ongoing basis. My team develops a lot of training in video format. These videos help everyone in our suppliers’ organizations, not just the leaders, have access to thorough training on our set of specifications and “the BGRS way.” For example, all of our Destination Services Providers (DSPs) around the world, understand all our standards, from email communications to conducting home finding trips. Having on-demand training available also helps our suppliers manage their new hires and ensures that knowledge is transferable as they grow their employees.

Additionally, we deliver extensive training on anti-corruption live and make it available to our suppliers as a training video. We provide a thorough review of what bribery is, and the applicable laws, like FCPA and the anti-corruption laws in the UK and Canada. Even more importantly, the training outlines our policy and BGRS’s exact expectations of suppliers.

How does BGRS evaluate suppliers from a procurement perspective?

Mark: Every year, our suppliers are put through a rigorous evaluation. We engage in a detailed review of service, volume, and changes in the marketplace, and the current supplier landscape in that market, among other things. We do this for a number of reasons. If, for example, a marketplace has experienced a surge in volume, there could be opportunities for us to leverage pricing. We have a weighted formula that takes a wide range of factors into consideration. The outcome of that formula leads into the appropriate next step in the supplier procurement lifecycle. We also focus on the concept of supplier value. We don’t evaluate any one aspect, such as pricing or service, in complete isolation, but rather take a holistic view.

What do BGRS’s clients expect from our supply chain and how has that evolved over several years?

Mark: Our clients expect us to bring high quality service at a competitive price to the table, but one thing that has evolved is the need to really demonstrate value. As part of the annual reviews, we ask our suppliers to outline for us the additional value adds they are bringing. We can then track and report this to our clients. For example, we track how much cost avoidance our DSPs provide by reporting on costs saved through the rent negotiation process. We can demonstrate additional value to our clients in this way.

As another example, one time we had a supplier that had a transferring employee that was upset because initially their children couldn’t get their favorite TV channel when they moved to their new country. This supplier helped figure out how to get the channel for that family; but they didn’t stop there. They incorporated a question about this in their needs assessment, so they can better address this need for all of their customers.

How does BGRS strive to enhance supplier diversity?

Mark: Diversity and promoting diversity in our supply chain is a fundamental commitment for BGRS. In every RFP we issue, we ask questions and evaluate the answers through this lens.  Inside the United States, where it is pertinent, we include and give opportunities to minority and/or women owned firms.  We partner with BGRS’s reporting team to supply ongoing reports to our clients on the diversity in our supplier partners.

What is one way that differentiates how BGRS manages our supply chain network?

Mark: One of the biggest differentiators is that my team is independent from the supplier network teams. In other words, my team doesn’t manage suppliers, so we don’t have an ongoing working relationships with any particular supplier. We bring an independent view to the governance and procurement process. Our independence ensures we can comply with our governance process, without managing these supplier relationships at the same time.  Our clients can take comfort knowing, an independent group is managing the procurement process and following all the appropriate steps. Shortcuts are eliminated, freeing up the supplier network managers to focus  on managing the suppliers rather than selecting the suppliers.

What do suppliers say they like about working with BGRS?

Mark: Without a doubt our suppliers say they appreciate our partnership approach. We work together to try to solution any challenges that may arise. It is the opposite of a ‘my way or the highway’ approach. We are working on creating additional value for our clients, and our supplier partners help us deliver that. By taking a partnership approach, we help ensure both our and our suppliers’ mutual success, which, at the end of the day, benefits everyone.

Learn more about Using BGRS’s Supplier Network in our Video Gallery.