Sandboxes – Drive Procurement Collaboration Across Your Organization

Last week I reviewed how some companies utilize sandbox events to evaluate procurement tools. The executives I know realize that this can be the first step in procurement innovation.

Many C-level executives realize that sandboxes can drive collaboration and innovation across their organization in procurement and related functions.

I like to think of a sandbox as a creative way to drive change.

Companies that have grown through acquisition and have not merged the procurement functions have the most to gain.

Senior executives have shared some familiar challenges with me:

  • Operating autonomously can be a sound business decision
  • Different rules and protocols impede collaboration
  • Protection of turf
  • A belief that “my” way of operating is the best way
  • Differing operational styles
  • Information systems don’t speak to each other and coding of information to allow sharing seems to be an insurmountable task

Given these challenges, can a sandbox help your procurement organization drive change in how you do strategic sourcing? ?

It may not solve all the issues but I believe the benefits outweigh the risk.

Indirect spend typically offers immediate savings opportunities in time and cost. This could be the best place to start for your company.

I would suggest the following basic parameters:

  • C-level commitment to the project for each business unit
  • Sandbox participants are provided with a safe environment to explore all options without blowback.
  • Include participants with different skills and experience
  • Utilize a physical meeting space for the length of the project that allows participants to experience how fellow collaborators work and interact
  • Set an unrealistic timetable because time expands to time allowed
  • Provide a clear main goal and set a low threshold for the first event
  • Allow digging into related issues as this may uncover the real root cause
  • Generate excitement and allow it to grow
  • Summarize what worked and what didn’t but don’t be too quick to set parameters for the next sandbox based on one event

I believe that there are many similarities between success in sports and business.

Ask a professional athlete how their team won a championship.

Their answers almost always are: “we had a common goal and we never lost focus”.

If you were a professional basketball player the goal of winning a championship is obvious.

The great teams focus on winning the next play as a building block for success. They never take a play off or rest in the pursuit of their goal.

Your sandbox will generate excellent results if it has the same approach. All change is incremental.

The sharing of best and worst practices will lead to small successes and that will be the start of your championship run.

My recommendations are meant to help you get started. There is so much more. My advice is always to take the first step and never look back.

I wish you remarkable success in building collaboration in your company.

If you want to explore a purchasing or procurement topic in greater detail, 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 my recommendations will be right for everyone, so don’t expect a sales pitch. You can reach me at 973-936-9672.

Organizations of all sizes are reducing costs and increasing efficiency, without changing the way they conduct business. If you would like to know how, 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©

Think about it.

Until Next Time, I Wish You Great Success in Your Business and in Your Life

Mike Jeffries