Looks like someone’s been secretly reading my blog. But seriously, you know I’m not going to be able to resist a review of any article entitled Sourcing Innovation (It Only Starts With Cost Cutting) (Managing Automation Magazine, registration required), after all, that’s pretty much what this blog is about.
According to the article, sourcing and procurement needs to shift away from a single-minded focus on cost cutting to a more holistic approach that considers quality, risk, and product innovation as well as cost. New emphasis needs to be placed on process optimization and collaboration both internally and with suppliers. … Well, yeah!
More interesting is that it also notes that many manufacturers are turning to options-based contracts and indexed-based pricing to counter rising costs and price volatility, especially for energy. This is more interesting – since I find options-based contracts to be uncommon, even though Jason Busch has preached their virtues in this blog as well as his own. (As for indexed pricing, hopefully you are doing that already!)
It also discusses how HP uses Procurement Risk Management (PRM) (also known as Supply Risk Management) engineering to manage uncertainty in the procurement process by way of a set of mathematical and statistical solutions that analyze hundreds of potential scenarios and determine the likelihood of potential outcomes. Knowing the most likely outcome(s) allows you to predict volumes with confidence and make commitments to a supplier about volume levels and prices.
And, of course, it discusses decision optimization, although it simply lumps it in under the “spend management” heading. (Ouch!) For example, Oracle Sourcing from Oracle Corp. (Redwood Shores, CA) generates recommendations after analyzing various combinations and permutations to balance cost, quality, risk, and product innovation as well as “what if” scenarios. Decision optimization in a nutshell … too bad the author doesn’t look below the 100 million threshold when picking representative companies … since there are much more innovative decision optimization companies out there than Oracle. (And if you don’t remember, start with my optimization series: I, II, III, and IV).
It’s a good article, but I would have liked more. But then again, it took thirteen installments of The Future of Sourcing to even scratch the surface of Sourcing Innovation.