Dublin had a brief respite from the long winter as the top Welocalize translation vendors arrived in an uncharacteristically sunny Irish capital for our fourth annual vendor summit. Lyn Carroll, Senior Director, Global Vendor Management at Welocalize is at the helm of this event where vendors and Welocalize meet for discussion, collaboration, debate and experience sharing on topical industry focus areas. Lyn lives in Dublin (but is a culchie, not a Dub!) and has worked for Welocalize for over 11 years.
In simple terms, what is the Welocalize Vendor Summit?
It’s been running for four years now and it’s a forum where the Welocalize GVM team plus representatives from Senior Management and the Executive Team get together with a selection of our top translation vendors. We have speaker-led sessions, panel discussions, vendor case studies and breakouts on business-critical topics. We are together with the vendors from dawn to dusk, so it’s pretty full-on, but the intensity helps relationship building and mutual understanding. The summit is not just a talking shop – it’s a big investment for us to get our all these people together for three days so the ROI must be visible: actionable insights, measurable results.
Why do you run it?
Our external supply chain is a vital part of the Welocalize value proposition and we must listen to our vendors to get the translator’s view of what’s happening in the industry. Our GVM strategy is to engage vendors who can grow and scale at predictable performance levels – what we call “high maturity vendors” – and consolidate spend with them. High maturity vendors don’t come out of the box – they need to be nurtured and developed to maximise their potential and that takes investment.
What happened at this year’s summit?
We had 19 vendor participants from 12 companies representing our top and emerging vendors. Our keynote address, themed “Adapt or Die” was given by Olga Blasco, Welocalize Senior VP of Supply Chain and Production Business Units….
More realistic than harsh – it focused vendors’ minds on our mutual challenges: optimising the translation value chain with new resourcing models and technology as Operational Excellence (OpEx) enabler. Olga also referenced cautionary tales of vendors who recently folded as a result of failure to evolve. We have a responsibility to our supply chain to be straight with them. If our vendors thrive, we thrive.
Why is it the hottest ticket in town?
Our vendors say Welocalize is very different in our interaction with our supply chain. We acknowledge the symbiotic relationship between us, and the need to collaborate to grow and succeed. Vendors also appreciate the access they get to thought leaders within Welocalize and the way we treat them like partners: we listen, we engage – we don’t just talk at them.
What were the buzz topics this year?
Interoperability and connectors.
Machine Translation Post-Editing (MTPE) and productivity
Multi-tiered translation offering
Recruitment models and resource brokerage
Operational Excellence – always hot – practical examples of how we and our vendors go about eliminating waste and maximising value.
What happens next?
The real value comes after the summit is over. We get great momentum from being hot-housed together for 3 days, but must convert talk and ideas into actions and results. For instance, last year we shared the Welocalize vision of OpEx and our plans for technology development to eliminate waste. We sought feedback on what we might have missed and how to make it easier for vendors to do business with us. Interoperability and connectors loomed large in the discussions. The resulting action was to develop Welocalize Falcon Vendor Web Services, in collaboration with one of our vendors, STP, which we previewed at Summit 2013. This year, we’re planning Vendor Developer Days to progress further technology enhancements, which will start in the summer – stay tuned!
How did you celebrate at the end?
I wish I could say we Riverdanced while balancing pints of Guinness on our heads, but no – no rest for the wicked! It was straight back to work after a hectic but highly productive week!
 In Hiberno-English, culchie is a term sometimes used to describe a person from rural Ireland. It usually has a pejorative meaning, but is also reclaimed by some proud of their rural origin, and may be used by either side in craic between town and country people. However it is often derogatory, used by those living in Dublin for anyone who lives “outside of The Pale” or “down the country”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culchie