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Lhotse Search: Your Supplier Data at Your Fingertips

by Tara Baurmann08.12.2022

In the next part of our ‘understanding the product’ series, we focus on Lhotse Search - our procurement solution which helps you automatically find suppliers through a user-friendly interface. We take the time and hassle out of sieving through your existing database to find the most competitive and compliant supplier fit! Sounds good? Read on to find out more…

What is Lhotse Search?

We see first-hand how complex tools such as SAP have a wealth of information that is often not being used. Lhotse helps you to make sense of your data in a simple and powerful way.

Lhotse Search processes existing data points by clustering (i.e. grouping) related suppliers and creating a contextual understanding of each supplier. Data points from Lhotse's own database are then added. For any new request, Lhotse identifies the best supplier with a semantic search across the entire cloud of possible suppliers.

In this way, Lhotse transforms your supplier database into a fully searchable source of knowledge! Our Google-like, user-friendly interface combines your existing supplier data and enriches it with Lhotse’s database so that you can always find the right supplier based on the specific requirements that you have - be it lower price, faster shipping, or sustainable or regional suppliers.

Gone are the days of manual static processes! Lhotse is fully automated and constantly updating, thus freeing up your procurement team and business users’ time to focus on what matters most.

Lhotse Search: Benefits

Lhotse’s one-click quote feature ensures you get the most competitive quotes every time, no matter how large the scale. We reduce the required engagement on the part of suppliers whilst simultaneously ensuring compliance. The result? Streamlined and fully transparent procurement processes!

Here are some of the results our clients see immediately:

1. Increased visibility

Our search function allows you to remain in complete control of your supplier knowledge by ensuring 100% transparency. This visibility extends to all your historical purchases, credit scores, ESG compliance, and regional suppliers. Yet it is not only procurement teams who benefit from this added visibility, but also a variety of other stakeholders along the process, ranging from business users to approvers and suppliers.

2. More offers

Lhotse enables you to identify the right suppliers and obtain quotes automatically so that you receive up to 3x more offers at more competitive prices! Lhotse ensures more offers every time due to our extensive supplier database which combines Lhotse’s database with your pre-existing supplier knowledge.

Just ask Peter Hagenow, Head of Strategic Group Procurement at KWS, who shared his first-hand experience with Lhotse in our latest interview.

3. Time savings

Automation saves time! Indeed, our customers have found that they spend up to 30% less time onboarding new suppliers and a staggering 70% less time dealing with the request to offer process. In fact, our customer FUNKE saw time savings of up to 76%, using Lhotse. These time savings free up capacity in your procurement teams so that they can focus on strategic activities and add further value to the business.

4. Compliance

Lhotse ensures 100% compliance throughout the entire Source-to-Settle (S2S) process. This guarantees that your procurement activities stay aligned with internal policies during both supplier selection as well as bid solicitation.

Sounds good, but how does it work? Let’s get a bit technical…

We have explored what Lhotse Search does and why these features have so many advantages, but what’s the technology behind this product feature? How was Lhotse Search built and how does it work?

1. Connecting your data to the Lhotse supplier database

Our database includes information on hundreds of thousands of suppliers and in order to make the most out of this data, we use an algorithm to group supplier branches under parent suppliers. If you’re curious about how this is done, exactly, head to our blog post! This way we can share the information accumulated under one supplier branch with other supplier branches.

The large supplier database can also be connected to our customers’ supplier data. By doing so, customers are able to make use of both Lhotse’s supplier data and their own (through the aggregation of their own supplier information).

2. The importance of requisition data

Grouping suppliers and building connections between them, in the aforementioned way, critically also allows for the aggregation of requisition data.

Therefore, requisition data which is spread across several supplier branches (of the same supplier) is able to be aggregated under a single parent supplier. This is important for Lhotse Search. In order for a supplier search to deliver optimal results it must have as many data points (i.e. requisitions) for each supplier as is possible.

The historical knowledge of a supplier delivering different iPhones, iMacs, and Apple accessories allows us to make predictions. Namely, that the same supplier also sells the latest MacBook. In contrast, if a supplier were only to sell one iPhone charger and no other data points were available to us, we would not be able to come to such a conclusion easily.

3. How does Lhotse Search suggest suppliers based on past requisitions?

In section two an assumption was made that if a supplier has sold similar products, it is likely that they would also sell the product looked for through Lhotse Search. But how can we find past requisitions which feature similar products?

Context Search versus Lexical Search…

A conventional approach would be to match for lexically similar words. But what does this mean exactly?

Through lexical search, if you were to type in “car” words such as “cat”, “can”, or “rat” would be produced. You would be right if you were thinking this doesn’t sound adequate.

Therefore, in Lhotse Search, we look for similar requisitions based on context (otherwise known as ‘semantic search’). Searching based on context might produce the following results for the search “car”: “automobile”, “tire”, or “Volkswagen”.

Sounds better, right?

We make use of an advanced AI model that has learned how words and sentences relate to one another based on billions of text samples. For a given requisition text, all contextually related requisitions are returned alongside a similarity score. These scores give us a clear indication of how relevant RfQs are to the given search query and whether we can be confident that the associated supplier is relevant.

Ranking based on similarity scores…

The suppliers associated with these requisitions are then ranked based on the following criteria:

  1. How many relevant requisitions the supplier has
  2. Relevancy of the ‘most relevant’ requisitions

A combination of these two is necessary because we prioritise suppliers who have once delivered the same product over a supplier who has delivered a product ten times which is merely similar.

Not to worry though: we will always show you all available suppliers who have delivered a similar product and rank them by confidence of delivering ability. That way, it will be that much easier for you to choose the best one based on your specific criteria!

Let’s be honest: you needed those laptops yesterday, so we know that speed is of the essence.

4. How do we ensure GDPR Compliance?

We know how important compliant and safe data storage and data processing is. This is why our clients’ data is secured with 256-bit AES encryption at rest and SSL/TLS encryption in-transit. We provide GDPR-compliant cloud hosting via AWS-Cloud-Services. Customers’ data is stored exclusively in the European Union.

Summary

Lhotse Search is a powerful tool which enables your company to easily find the most suitable suppliers from the hundreds of thousands in our database. Our user-friendly interface ensures every procurement purchase is made in an efficient and compliant manner.

The beauty of it all? Behind-the-scenes complex processes such as supplier grouping and context mapping take care of all of the hard work and you are left with a simple, yet powerful supplier search engine: Lhotse Search.

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