A surprising number of companies have similar goals for their procurement and supply chain.
I often find that many procurement professionals are surprised to learn that their issues are not unique.
There are unique aspects for each company but far more similarities in the issues and related goals.
Here are the most common goals that have been shared with me:
- Eliminate manual intake and purchasing processes
- Significantly reduce cycle times
- Streamline supplier onboarding
- Broaden the supplier base
- Increase supplier participation
- Create stronger supplier partnerships to drive competitive advantage
- Motivate stakeholder involvement
How well does this list match up with yours?
If you look closely at this list, it should be evident that most of these issues stem from:
- Manual processes that are unresponsive to the speed business moves at today
- Cumbersome and complex systems that are difficult to use and demotivate users and suppliers
The latest statistic I saw from Spend Matters is that less than 50% of companies are using a cloud-based platform to manage intake, supplier onboarding, RFPs, Bid awards, and contract management etc.
For these organizations there is tremendous upside. I can’t remember any client telling me that using a cloud-based platform I recommended made their job more difficult or more time consuming.
The companies that are using a complex system are often supplementing it with offline tools like spreadsheets, share folders, email, PDFs and even paper. The reason is time. People like tools that will make them more productive not less so.
This is a more difficult issue. Organizations that have made an investment in an end-to-end system are reluctant to purchase a bolt-on system even if it is best of breed.
I understand that thinking to a degree.
However, if using a bolt-on system will help you achieve 2 or 3 of the goals listed above, wouldn’t that create the ROI needed to justify the purchase?
if you are interested, I have compelling examples I can share, if that will help your case.
If you have been tasked with driving change in the supply chain, here are some thoughts for you to consider.
Start by surveying the key people in your group plus a selection of stakeholders and key suppliers.
I like speaking to people because your sincerity will come through and you will get better answers.
Keep your conversations short, a handful of questions and 10 minutes at most.
For your team:
- What tools do you use consistently?
- Are there any tools that you don’t use or only use occasionally?
It should be easy to find out what works and what doesn’t and why.
- What is the most time-consuming part of the process? Pick any process.
- If you could wave a magic wand and change the process in any way, what would you do?
Be open and patient. Realize that you may receive more feedback than you want.
- Do any other customers utilize systems that are easier to use for RFPs? Which ones?
- How can we motivate you to participate and collaborate on a consistent basis?
You should see a pattern develop.
Clearly, this is just the start of your evaluation process.
People are spoiled by the Amazon experience and that isn’t news.
Imagine if you could create a similar experience at your company.
You may not get that far but setting that as the overall goal would be smart in my opinion.
We can all get better and it will likely happen if we look to improve 1% today and again tomorrow. If that is your goal every day, 2020 will be your best year ever.
It all starts by asking good questions.
Action Step: Finding the right tools for your needs can be a challenging process but it doesn’t have to be. If you are uncertain where to start the process of change, a procurement professional like myself can provide guidance and expertise to help your organization achieve the results you want. If you want to go explore this topic in greater detail, please contact me. I invite you to request 30-minute discovery conversation. In my experience the next step will be apparent at the end of the call. I never assume that what I have to offer will be right for everyone, so don’t expect a sales pitch. You can reach me at 973-936-9672.
If you would like to know more ways to reduce costs without changing the way you do business, simply give me a call or send me an email with your contact information and the best time to reach you.
You Won’t Drift to Success©
Commit to taking the next step.
Until Next Time, I Wish You Great Success in Your Business and in Your Life