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National Nuclear Laboratory Improves Supplier Onboarding and Risk Management With Rizikon from Crossword Cybersecurity

December 2021 by Marc Jacob

Crossword Cybersecurity Plc announced that National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), the government owned but operationally independent UK national laboratory for nuclear fission, is using Rizikon Assurance, Crossword’s supplier assurance and third-party risk management platform, to bring new efficiencies to its supplier onboarding and management processes.

NNL has been creating a culture change in the way it serves its customers, and engages supply chains to maintain a solid reputation, be agile, reliable, safe and innovative, managing hundreds of supplier contracts across the full nuclear lifecycle. Some of these suppliers are small, but offer highly specialised services to the nuclear sector, whilst others are international organisations on multi-year contracts for construction, maintenance, and decommissioning projects.

A typical onboarding process requires a supplier to complete a host of forms about every aspect of its business operations, which can be time consuming to manage for all parties, leading to delays, complications, and poor visibility of risks. As one of the most highly regulated and closely monitored sectors, NNL is constantly working with suppliers to ensure they have the correct processes and insurance in place, as well necessary industry certifications, such as ISO 27001 for information security management.

Rizikon is a secure, encrypted portal which puts an organisation in control of managing risks in its supply chain and the financial, regulatory, and reputational risks they indirectly carry. Rizikon contains standard questionnaires on subjects such as cyber security, GDPR, supplier on-boarding, modern slavery, and anti-bribery & corruption. Customers can also create their own question sets and scoring approaches, enabling a 360-degree view of supply chain risk in a single pane of glass.

Fast onboarding and credit checking

NNL is also using the credit checking features of Rizikon, which uses direct integration with Creditsafe to provide an instant status report on a supplier’s creditworthiness during the onboarding process from a database of over 320 million companies worldwide. This step is particularly important given the long-term nature of projects in the nuclear industry, where NNL needs to minimise the risks of working with suppliers whose long-term financial future and previous performance needs to be independently verified and can be very time consuming.

Better risk visibility

NNL contracts are banded, with all gold and silver contracted suppliers now onboarded into the Rizikon platform. The holistic nature of the Rizikon platform means that NNL as the contracting authority can demonstrate the risk profile and status of suppliers at any time, and with ease, as well as identify risk issues across an entire contract group.

Victoria McConville, Senior Business Analyst – Procurement, at NNL, said: “Rizikon has helped us make our supplier onboarding processes more efficient, improving the consistency of communications with suppliers, which has given us insight into new ways of reviewing risks. NNL can manage any query related to the completion of assessments securely through this platform, which makes the process quicker and more efficient, especially with features such as credit checks, and integration with Dark Beam for cyber security audits.

“As the programmes we deliver continue to increase in scale and complexity, we are developing our ability to deliver on time, quality and cost, whilst upholding a strong track record in safety and security. Being what a national laboratory should be – putting value first, whilst maximising our capabilities for the benefit of all.”

Rizikon’s ease and evolution

NNL was able to start working with Rizikon, as it is a cloud-based SaaS platform. One of the key features of Rizikon is its ease of use, which is critical when asking a supplier network to adopt a new onboarding process. All assessments are completed through a secure web browser connection, intuitive and able to be left at any time, to return to the same position later. Suppliers can easily insert comments to raise queries, which are immediately delivered to the assessing organisation for review.

McConville concluded: “We can see new ways that Rizikon can support our procurement and risk processes going forward, and it great to have this supplier data stored consistently in one place. We were able to get up and running very quickly with the platform, and the development team at Crossword has been very responsive to suggestions for feature additions and improvements.”

Sean Arrowsmith, Group Sales Director at Crossword, commented: “Nuclear is one of our most highly regulated and security conscious industries, so attention to detail and efficiency in the supplier onboarding process are critical. Through its use of Rizikon, NNL is gaining a more efficient onboarding process that allows procurement staff to have a simplified view of risks in contract groups, and therefore focus on the higher value aspects of efficient supplier management, rather than the time-consuming administrative headaches.”

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