Daily Archives: October 4, 2006

Spend Management Changes Business

Before the Sourcing Innovation Series, where the mighty prophet of the spend management space Jason Busch offered up his thoughts on Sourcing Innovation: Securitizing Direct Materials and Sourcing Innovation: Next Generation On-Demand, he published a whitepaper entitled Spend Management: Changing Business, A Case for Reexamining Procurement’s Role In Organizations of All Sizes, that you should read, or read again, as you’re unlikely to find all of the nuggets of wisdom Jason packs in on a first read.

Spend Management can lead an overall business strategy. And it can create significant competitive differentiation that is much harder to replicate than a product or service that is sold on the revenue side of the business … Spend Management is not a business strategy and philosophy. It is the business strategy and philosophy that leaders practice and followers fail to fully understand.

Spend Management is not just cost management. It is not just procurement. It is not just new software. It is not just an incremental change in function or process. It is not a new fad or methodology being pushed by the consultants simply to define their value and take your money. It represents a new type of thinking, a way of taking integrated approaches to not just procurement, but all aspects of non-revenue generating operations. It is a way of thinking about your global supply chain strategy that will reduce costs, improve processes, and increase profits even when inflation is rampant, economies tight, and transport lanes continually overtaxed.

At the very core, it is the process of driving sourcing innovation to new levels across your organization. Continual Spend Management Innovation, to squeeze more and more from every dollar you spend, is your ultimate goal as it is the only way to guarantee long-term sustainability of results. You focus on value, which could be defined as the simultaneous maximization of total cost, production efficiency, and innovation.

Spend Management success requires creating specific goals and having a destination point in mind. To do this, it is necessary to identify where a company stands today and how to overcome the gap between the current state and market leadership. After all, there is no panacean spend management solution, even though there are a number of platforms that cover different aspects of spend management, which include spend visibility, eRFX, eProcurement, catalog search, contract management, supplier performance management, category management, and supplier risk management, quite well. After all, if you know where you need to go, you’ll get there a lot faster.

Accelerating Spend Management results requires that executives move beyond looking at procurement solely as an agent for cost reduction. To sustain results, organizations must now examine cost, spend, vulnerabilities, and risk as assets to be managed and reduced. … Organizations need to think creatively about the best – and most cost-efficient – ways to mitigate and manage vulnerabilities and risk to drive Spend Management results. Every company is different. Every supply chain is different. And every solution that outperforms a competitor will be slightly different. The key is to learn from the best – and then improve upon it.

When upgrading capabilities and investments, it is not necessary to switch out existing providers. It is now possible to use and improve what they already have by turning to other providers to augment and enhance existing capabilities. I’ll say it again, there is no panacean spend management solution. Although some providers offer extensive integrated solution suites, some of which are quite spectacular, each provider tends to have a strength in a different area, such as eProcurement, eSourcing, contract management, spend analysis, supply visibility, or supplier risk and / or performance management, and the best solution for your company will probably be a combination of vendors – and sometimes you’ll even have multiple vendors that offer the same capability as you will find some vendor solutions more suited to certain parts of your supply chain than others. However, since most of the best vendors on the market today offer on-demand solutions, building an optimized heterogeneous solution should not be problematic.

To ensure that an organization is headed down the Spend Management path to sustainable savings and potentially industry-shaping results, it is essential for executives to keep three key objectives in mind. First, they should take a flexible approach and expect the same dexterity from their partners, realizing that Spend management is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Staying nimble allows a company to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, and to react to – or ideally predict – changes in market conditions. Second, they should establish longer term goals and programs without sacrificing near-term objectives that can motivate the organization and prove the value of Spend Management as a continuous process. And third, they should invest in creating company-wide systems and capabilities that use the best of internal and external knowledge and processes to maximize – and guarantee – ongoing results.