When I was being blown away in the windy city, I had a chance to sit down with Brett Holland, Co-Founder and SVP of Akoya. It was an illuminating conversation, and one that highlighted why companies like Akoya and Apriori are taking spend management to a whole new level, especially in manufacturing (even though they are both attacking problems at different ends of the spectrum using two different approaches). Not wanting to spoil Brett’s upcoming posts over on Spend Matters, I decided to hold off on a post of my own.
In his Getting Ahead of the Product Cost Management Curve post, Brett points out that procurement and sourcing play a very critical role in understanding the product cost implications associated with the sourcing and purchasing of engineered components and that procurement and supply management can and should lead conversations regarding product costs since today’s spend management 2.0 solutions allow procurement and sourcing professionals to arm themselves with much more information about what drives costs and where there are opportunities to save money in direct materials and contract manufactured component categories. Furthermore, most of the current approaches in the market are highly complementary to each other and manufacturing companies should be working with all types of product cost management techniques to maximize their position in an increasingly competitive environment. And this last point is key. One solution is great – a small basket of complementary solutions that attack cost from all the angles is either better.
In his Taking Control of Cost Management for Engineered Direct Materials post, Brett points out that in the past, there have not been very good ways to systematically find cost inefficiencies and take action on them within engineered direct materials. Companies have developed cross functional teams, conducted six sigma projects, brought in consultants and domain experts, but none of them have had the direct access to the critical data and the analytical tools to dissect it so they could have a clear picture on the factors that drive cost inefficiencies in the direct materials across the organization.
However, today, analytical solutions are available for product cost management that can take the data that is within your control – financial, purchasing, supplier, and manufacturing – analyze it, and present you with a highly accurate list of parts that have potential cost savings. Additionally, these analytical solutions provide reasons why these savings opportunities exist and potential actions to take to capture them. The analytical solutions can then be complimented by activity-based cost models, risk management solutions, supplier relationship management solutions, and eProcurement packages that help execute on the actions.
Furthermore, Today’s product cost management analytics work by drawing out the elemental factors within the part and its manufacturing requirements that drive the cost. They then analyze this data to determine commonality and comparability, and can predict target costs. They augment (and sometimes correct) this predicted cost with data that determines the factors that may contribute to cost inefficiencies (you can think of it as the evidence that makes the case). From this combination of approaches, these analytical solutions can accurately assess which parts are good renegotiation candidates, which parts are good resourcing candidates, which suppliers are best at each part, and other actionable findings.
This last point is key – and why you should use a basket of complementary solutions, starting with Akoya and Apriori. Akoya helps you figure out where you are likely overspending and why, and Apriori helps you figure out by how much and what you do about it, with its process-based mechanistic cost models. In other words, given the forest, Akoya helps you find the trees that need to be cut down and Apriori is the saw you use to tackle the trees.
For another perspective on Akoya, refer back to Jason’s Spend Management Goes Upstream: Part 3 – The Akoya Philosophy post.