Daily Archives: July 26, 2010

You Say You Know How To Balance Competing Objectives. Are You Sure?

You need to source some more cocoa for your chocolate factories to keep production moving (and the oompa loompas working). In years past, you’d just hold an auction and cut a contract with the lowest cost bidder, but you can’t do that now that you’re a socially responsible buyer. You can’t buy from some sellers on the Ivory Coast that you know are using child labor, you can’t buy from further away than necessary as long hauls greatly increase your carbon footprint, and you can’t buy inferior products for your luxury chocolate production lines. You can buy some inferior products for your mass economy goods, provided they are blended with higher quality goods, but only so much. You can ship further if the cost is low enough that you can buy carbon credits. And you can source a portion of your award from a select handful of Ivory Coast suppliers who are making an active effort to approve their socially responsible operations.

It’s a complicated decision as you have to balance cost vs. carbon vs. quality vs. brand value. In fact, the only way to truly make the best decision is to use a (strategic sourcing) decision optimization solution that allows for multi-criteria multi-variate optimization that allows a buyer to determine the cost and benefits of various solutions with respect to each objective. In addition, it’s the only way a buyer can truly examine the effect of different weightings of the various criteria under consideration.

While many of the SSDO (strategic sourcing decision optimization) platforms do not yet support this capability, you can be sure that most of tomorrow’s platforms will. To find out what other capabilities are forthcoming in the world of decision optimization, visit BravoSolution‘s website, fill out a short 8-field registration form, and receive your free, exclusive, copy of The Future of Optimization, a new Sourcing Innovation white-paper with groundbreaking insight on eight directions that strategic sourcing decision optimization is likely to take in the decade ahead.

Or, fill out the quick-request form below:

Request The Future of Optimization










A Hitchhiker’s Guide to e-Procurement: Goods Receipts, Part I

Mostly Harmless, Part VIII

Previous Post

A goods receipt is a written (or electronic) acknowledgement by a buyer that a specified set of products or services was received by the buyer in acceptable conditions. It’s primarily used for the receipt of goods by a buyer’s warehouse or distribution network. A goods receipt tells the supplier that the buyer has accepted the goods and that the supplier can expect to be paid subject to the terms of the associated purchase order(s) or contract(s).

A goods receipt is so simple in principle that one might believe that it hardly warrants its own post. However, a goods receipt is not so cut-and-dry in practice. There are many reasons for this, including:

  • The goods receipt has to be meaningful to the supplier.

    This means that it has to contain the product codes, or SKUs, used by the supplier, indicate the quantities, and reference the purchase order(s) given to the supplier.

  • The goods receipt has to be meaningful to the buyer.

    This means that it has to contain the product codes, or SKUs, used by the buyer for purchasing. It needs to reference the appropriate purchase order(s) and/or contract(s) and it needs to provide an ability to reference a forthcoming invoice.

  • The goods receipt has to be meaningful to inventory management.

    The goods receipt also has to contain the product codes, or SKUs, used in inventory and warehouse management, if they differ from the purchasing codes, and any auxiliary information required by inventory management and warehousing for storage and distribution.

  • The goods receipt has to account for irregularities that could form the basis of disputes.

    The supplier might require a receipt as soon as goods are delivered, but before they can be adequately inspected. Upon an initial inspection of a damaged box, it may or may not be possible to determine whether or not any, some, or all of the contained products are damaged. How can this information be captured so that there is a foundation for a dispute if damage is found upon future inspection?

  • The goods receipt has to be acceptable to multiple systems.

    Chances are the supplier uses one system for receiving goods receipts while Purchasing uses another for cutting purchase orders while inventory management uses yet another for managing inventory.

As a result, the goods receipt must be expressible in at least one universal format that is capable of supporting multiple product codes or SKUs, multiple references to related buyer and supplier documents, and multiple instances of such documents, as a supplier could ship goods relating to multiple purchase orders in a single shipment. (Also, a single purchase order could be related to many goods receipts if different goods on a large BOM are shipped in different shipments.) As a result, the requirements for the goods receipt cannot be overlooked in the selection of an e-Procurement system.

Next Post: Goods Receipts, Part II

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