More Insight: Needs Assessment

Strategic Sourcing Process

As a sourcing company with years of experience, EC Sourcing Group offers powerful strategic sourcing tool options to efficiently and effectively manage everyday supply management activities. We invite you to attend our Webinar, request an online demo or conduct a pilot program so you can experience our process, people, and easy-to-use sourcing software.


To achieve your supply management goals we recommend you review these basic steps in your evaluation process:

Understand the Problem:

The true culprit in preventing your firm from initiating successful strategic sourcing is most likely the processes you’re using to manage data, vendors and reporting. Some potential problems we have witnessed include:

  • Lack of good spend data
  • Lack of formal / structured sourcing / vendor management process
  • Not enough time to execute a thorough sourcing process
  • Thorough vendor management is too cumbersome
  • Current vendor management solution is too cumbersome

Plan for a Real Solution:

  • Identify the specific problems you are trying to solve by implementing a new supply management solution
    • What are your key priorities, must haves, and nice-to-haves?
  • Be aware that you must change the processes to achieve your goals
    • Recognize the major limiting factors in procurement operations:
      • The lack of a technology infrastructure
      • An underused technology infrastructure
  • Define materials and suppliers that will establish the baseline and serve as the clean master data for procurement
  • Determine if you require software alone, or software and consulting support to educate your team

Get Educated on Current Supply Management Best Practices:

  • Review provider websites
  • Sign-Up for free online Webinars
  • Visit educational websites
  • Subscribe to supply management industry trade publications
  • Read educational blogs regularly
  • Attend trade shows
  • Speak to your peers that are presently using these solutions

Initiate Provider Discussions:

  • Share the definition of your needs
  • Refine and clarify needs through provider discussions
  • Insist that providers talk to your specific needs, not their general offering
  • Update the definition of your need after speaking to several providers

Create a Short List of Providers:

  • Issue an RFP to your potential list of providers – if needed
  • Request a product demonstration

What to look for:

  • Simplicity of data conversion:
    • Can your existing content be easily migrated to the solution?
  • Ease of Use:
    • How long does it take a novice user to learn the system — hours, days or weeks?
    • Will the solution be easier than your current process?
  • Training:
    • What are the time requirements on training your personnel?
    • Are there extra costs for training?
    • How is training provided?
  • Test drive the system whenever possible:
    • Can you upload a previous RFP into their system to evaluate?
    • How easy and useable is it?
    • How might it have helped you make a better decision?
    • How much time would it have helped you save?
    • Are the features/functions/workflow and user interface appropriate for your personnel?
    • Does the system receive inputs, manipulate and report your data in a manner that works for you?
  • Ongoing Support:
    • What type of support is available in the short and long term?
      • Email support, web chat support
      • Live person support desk
      • Ask about typical support response times
    • Who provides support, USA-based-personnel or other?
    • What is the level of support personnel?
      • subject matter experts only
      • technical experts only
      • functional and technical

Implement A Pilot Program:

With a pilot or ‘proof of concept’ project, it is easier and less risky to determine the value of our services. It allows you to experience a real world application of our software tools – a big benefit in evaluating both ease of use and effectiveness.

    • As you evaluate strategic sourcing technology solutions take one new project and let it be a test to evaluate and determine the appropriate technology tools. Look for these important features, attributes and benefits.
      • Ease of Use
      • Ease of organizing and managing data to your daily operational reality
      • Flexibility to implement quickly
      • Employee acceptance
      • Ability to retain knowledge for future re-use and training
      • Reporting and archiving capabilities for audit & SOX compliance
      • Vendor acceptance
      • Communications capabilities

From a data standpoint, to perform the pilot project, you need to gather the basic project background information. This usually includes:

      • Suppliers from whom you have bought the product or service before
      • A list of items that will be sent out to bid as well as any specification documents
      • A quality/service performance level that will need to be met by any new supplier / any qualitative questions

The last point is crucial to a successful project.  You must know the service levels that are required so you can determine which of the participating suppliers can meet or exceed this level.

Key tips to making your pilot project successful and creating enthusiasm and momentum within your firm:

  • Choose a pilot project that has a chance to generate savings
  • Choose a spend category that is straightforward to execute
  • Do not select a project that is going to annoy anyone

Please feel free to contact us at any time with any questions, problems or concerns regarding obtaining your supply management goals. We welcome the opportunity to share our knowledge and experience with you.

My feedback is this… I have been in wireless for 12 years and this is the best RFI/RFP process that I have experienced, streamlined, concise, and easy to understand. This is coming from someone who has worked in executive level corporate offices for other tower companies and providers. Nice job, please pass along my compliments.

Paul Clewell

Vice President , Albion Scaccia Enterprises

FlexRFP streamlines and organizes the sourcing process which results in significant time savings. The system was so flexible; it allowed us to setup our own templates, with our own preferred organization and project options, which in turn resulted in better supplier quotes upon receipt. This organization also enables faster and streamlined bid analysis thereby saving time during the award phase as well. We’ve been extremely pleased with EC Sourcing Group’s support both during implementation and throughout our relationship.

Bill A.

We selected EC Sourcing to facilitate our indirect spend categories competitive bidding processes. Since implementation over 3 years ago, we’ve had great success using the solution to generate savings and leverage the automated web-based platform to increase bid visibility, timing and structure to provide a more formalized and credible bidding process. Our inter-company cross-functional team members have found the site to be very user friendly along with the invited vendors. We have found the bidding tool to be extremely easy to use by all parties involved with extremely high vendor participation rates. We find the system to be flexible to accommodate any spend category and the EC Sourcing Team continues to exceed our expectations in support and system capabilities.

Bryan Major

US Based Global Clothing Retailer/Wholesaler