Daily Archives: November 16, 2007

The Sourcing Nation Needs You!

As an astute sourcing professional, I’m sure you picked up on Jason’s Busch post last Thursday on Online Spend Management Traffic where he noted that blog traffic is rising while most of the online publications are flattening out, and in some cases, maybe even falling. This makes sense to me since real bloggers publish solid content and opinions every day while most of the publications only publish once a month, with more frequent updates often being nothing more than polished vendor press releases. However, what I noticed is that the site with the top 3-month average, Purchasing topped out at 319,397 in the Alexa rankings. Furthermore, upon doing my own research where I looked at CIPS, the CSCMP, e-Sourcing Forum, the IACCM, the ISM, Procure Insights, SIG, Supply Chain Brain, the Supply Chain Council, Supply Chain Daily, and Where Next in addition to CPO Agenda, the European Leaders Network, Purchasing, Spend Matters, Supply & Demand Chain Executive, Supply Chain Digest, Supply Chain Management Review, Supply Excellence, Supply Management . com, and Sourcing Innovation, the top site, belonging to ISM, topped out at 293,787. That says there are 293,786 sites out there more relevant than the top ranked sourcing site! And the results from Traffic Estimate aren’t much better. The top site, again the ISM, is credited with a mere 51,000 visits in the past 30 days. To put this in perspective, YouTube is credited with over 246,790,000 visits in the past 30 days. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think we should stand for this.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Sourcing – regardless of the name you call it (purchasing, procurement, supply management, supply chain, etc.), is the future of business – not Marketing, not Research and Development, and not Engineering and Manufacturing. Once you reach a certain plateau, you’re not going to double sales. You can create the best product in world, but if you can’t produce it at a price point that makes it affordable and attractive to your target market, then you’ve just wasted time and money. And you can streamline operations all you want, but you still have to pay your people and pay your bills. The real impact comes from smart sourcing!

So what can you do? Download the Alexa Toolbar (preferably for FireFox, but you can also get it for IE if you haven’t kicked the MS habit yet*). Then, every time you visit a sourcing related website, you’ll add to the anonymous usage statistics of the #1 site used to estimate web traffic and rank web sites and show the world that the Sourcing Nation is strong and capable of producing, and consuming, some of the best content out there. Then we’ll get noticed and be one step closer to the recognition we deserve.

* Maybe this demonstration of Vista will change your mind!

Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate V

Recently, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), Supply Chain Management Review (SCMR), and Michigan State University (MSU) released the Fifth Annual Global Survey of Supply Chain Progress.

The report measured the performance of firms along eight dimensions of supply chain competence:

  • Alignment with Business Strategy
  • Strategic Customer Integration
  • Strategic Supplier Integration
  • Cross-Functional Internal Integration
  • Supply Chain Responsiveness
  • Planning & Execution Process & Technology
  • Supply Chain Rationalization / Segmentation
  • Risk Management

The report found that the less mature companies needed to focus on greater collaboration with business partners and pay more attention to areas of weakness. Another mark of leaders was greater strategic alignment and significant, positive, involvement of top managers.

But I think it’s pretty obvious that collaboration is the ultimate key. What better way to mutually identify and improve the areas of weakness? What better way to improve strategic alignment? What better way to maximize the positive involvement of management? Furthermore, without collaboration, you’ll never truly achieve strategic integration between customers, suppliers, or internal departments.

So you want to achieve collaboration, but aren’t sure how to sell it? A recent CAPS Research study by Stanley Fawcett, Gregory Magnan, and Jeffrey Ogden, as summarized in How to Manage Supply Chain Collaboration, puts forward a three step process to identify and compare the benefits, barriers and bridges to assess and communicate the viability of pursuing a path toward collaborative advantage. The three stages are as follows:

  • Introspection
    A company’s orientation and philosophy consists of two building blocks: customer orientation and systems thinking orientation.
  • Supply Chain Design
    A five step process: scan, map, cost, manage competency, and rationalize
  • Supply Chain Collaboration Relationship alignment, information sharing, performance measurement, people empowerment, and collaborative learning.

By figuring out where your company is, and then working your way through a proper supply chain design planning exercise, you’ll be in a position to align your relationships, share information, measure your performance, and progress collaboratively.