e-Sourcing Roll-out Success Tips

At reSource, Iasta‘s annual user conference, last week, both Fluor and First Group, two of Iasta’s larger customers, gave presentations on successful rollout tactics and lessons from complex implementations that had some good tips on getting the most from your e-Sourcing solutions. Considering that every additional day required for solution roll-out, and subsequent mastery, is another day where you’re losing process efficiency AND leaving money on the table, in these challenging times, every tip helps.

Some of the tips were what you’d expect, and included:

  • executive sponsorship
    it’s almost always easier to get buy in when support comes from the top down
  • retention of experts
    there’s often no faster way to kick-start your project than to bring in appropriately qualified experts
  • don’t overlook “change management” and the importance of a “change culture”
    e-Sourcing is all about change for the better, and it requires buy-in across the board to be truly successful
  • form true cross-functional teams
    every impacted department, including legal, marketing, and R&D, should have a seat on the cross-functional purchasing team
  • get financial support up-front
    you not only need the right tools up front, but you need the right expertise (in the form of consultant subject matter experts) up front as well – and this requires seed money (upon which you’ll see a great return when the project is executed right)
  • a standard sourcing process
    that is executed across projects

But some of the tips were a little less obvious, such as:

  • use the tool, not e-mail
    most of today’s sourcing platforms have companion supplier portals and allow for all communication with the supplier to take place through the platform – using e-mail fails to centralize knowledge and, more importantly, can allow the process to be side-stepped, which could not only allow for a loss of efficiency and savings, but could violate the ethics of e-Sourcing
  • don’t overlook mid-management
    even if you obtain buy-in from senior management and the team, if mid-management doesn’t buy in, there could be daily struggles
  • make greater use of all available features sooner rather than later
    most platforms these days come with basic spend analysis, decision optimization, and / or contract management – all of which deliver savings above and beyond what you can obtain with e-RFx and e-Auctions, which is not only where most companies start their e-Sourcing journey, but in too many cases, where they prematurely stop it as well
  • monthly meetings
    make sure that the cross-functional project team meets (at least once) every month – not just during project kick-off and project completion
  • build the standard agreements up-front
    and make sure each is reviewed by legal before being sent to potential suppliers as part of the RFx
  • roll your own buyer’s guide
    have one of your senior team members combine the relevant vendor product documentation, process guides, training materials, and free resources (such as the wiki-papers on the e-Sourcing Wiki) into a single, printed, easy-to-follow buyer’s guide for each of your buyers that they can use as both a quick-start guide AND an easy reference