Daily Archives: February 17, 2011

Why Your Supply Chain Needs To Be Flexible

Thanks to economics, your forecasts will be right only 30% to 40% of the time, as per this recent article over on BBC News that asks why do economists get it so wrong. Whether you care to admit it or not, all forecasts implicitly assume that the general economic condition will stay the same, since that determines not only how much money your potential customers will have, but how much they will be willing to spend. But since the foundation of the economy — humans, resources, wars, natural disasters, technology, etc — are in a constant state of change and flux, all of the models used to describe the economy are flawed.

Thus, your forecasts are only likely to be right at the macro level. Since nearly every economic forecast will be right at some point, every product line forecast will be right at some point, but like a broken clock, may only display the correct volume 0.13% of the time. If you have years of past behaviour, you’ll be able to create a good forecast at the macro (year) level, but it will get less and less reliable as the time period shrinks, no matter how much you throw into your model. That’s why you need an adaptive and flexible supply chain that allows for relatively quick replenishment — so you can ramp up production and distribution when you need to, but not have too much inventory on hand when you don’t.

BravoSolution: Making Spend Analysis More Useful to the Average Supply Management Professional, Part II

In yesterday’s post we discussed how, for one reason or another, spend analysis is not used enough in the average organization. But, as I said before, this doesn’t have to be the case. Spend Analysis can continue to deliver value year over year if it is properly integrated into daily supply chain activities. And the key to making this happen in your average Supply Management organization is integrating spend analysis not only into the (e)Sourcing process but the e(S)ourcing suite.

In BravoSolution‘s Collaborative Sourcing Suite, Spend Analysis is integrated into the Contract Management, Compliance (& Spend) Management, and Performance Management solutions and will be integrated into Risk Management in the next version of the solution that is currently under development. In todays post, we will discuss the benefits of integrated spend analysis and what is available in BravoSolution’s suite.

By integrating Spend Analysis into the Contract Management solution, BravoSolution assists an organization in achieving a global view of sourcing and spend. From day one, an organization can not only track the contract details, but can track forecast data (total spend, cost reduction, demand management, etc.) and spend on an on-going basis by business unit and time-period (by setting up the periods for which spend is to be tracked). Then, on a regular basis, current and forecast saving reports can be (re)run with the click of a mouse button. For selected contracts, the actual savings report will summarize forecasted spend, actual spend, spend variance, expected savings (to date), actual savings, and variance, and the forecast savings report will summarize cost reduction, demand management, process savings, cost avoidance, cost increases, and total savings.

By integrating Spend Analysis into the Compliance Management solution, and matching all the way down to the unit level to find variance from contracts, Spend Analysis can help the Supply Management organization quickly pinpoint negotiated savings leakage and stem the losses. More importantly, the reports can be configured to report leakages and variances by supplier and contract (against the contract value and invoiced cost). If the variance calculations factor in discounts, rebates, and pricing tiers, then actual losses can be quickly computed. Then the recovery process can begin. BravoSolution’s suite, which includes integrated messaging for supplier performance tracking and hooks into performance management, includes the ability to track amounts paid and overpaid by supplier and contract to assist in recovery.

By integrating Spend Analysis into Performance Management, not only can spend be tracked by supplier, but spend can be broken down into high, average, and low performing suppliers. These reports can be high-level, based upon overall performance scores, or by individual KPIs from supplier scorecards. In addition, trends can be analyzed and the organization can determine whether spend to high performing suppliers is increasing, holding steady, or decreasing and whether or not action has to be taken. These trends can be plotted or (spider) graphed automatically, and benchmarks can be built and tracked over time.

And by integrating Spend Analysis into Risk Management, Risk Management can be taken to the next level. But that’s the subject of a future post.

So how successful can you be if you integrate Spend Analysis into Contract Management, Compliance Management, and Performance Management? Theoretically, the sky’s the limit (as spend analysis is now doing more than just measuring spend). Practically, the results are looking very promising. While BravoSolution only finished the initial integration of their core suite components with Spend Analysis last year, BravoSolution‘s first four case studies are looking quite promising.

After an initial 3 month roll-out to a handful of advertising and marketing groups in a large media organization, the organization decided to roll out the contract and compliance management solutions to all 30 of its global groups. A second organization was able to get 50% of its spend in a compliance program in less than six months. A third organization was able to develop a performance management solution that it could roll out to thousands of franchisees to determine the appropriateness and effectiveness of its global contracts. And while the final savings numbers won’t be known for a while, the savings are tracking in the range enabled by High Definition Sourcing, 10% to 30%.