Daily Archives: June 16, 2011

Ariba Vision 2020: Tomorrow’s Shoes (Part I)

This is the first of two posts that address the fourteen predictions that were dead on in Ariba’s Vision 2020 – The Future of Procurement report. Any Supply Management organization that recognizes the truth of these predictions is well on its way to formulating a plan to be a leading Supply Management organization in the decade ahead.

01. Everything is automated

This prediction is dead-on. Next Generation Supply Management shops are investing heavily in technology to automate all non-strategic and low-value supply management activities, leaving the sourcing professionals to focus on strategic and high-value categories where they can extract the most value for the organization.

07. Spend management shrinks

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: Spend Matters Not. It’s not how much you spend, how you store it, how you cube it, or how you report on it — what ultimately matters is how much you get from it, profit from it, and derive value from it. Next Generation Supply Management organizations are focussed on improving business outcomes, not cutting costs until quality and stability of supply suffer. Spend Management will shrink as true Supply Management focussed on value takes its place.

09. Service providers excel

Given the increasing cost of outsourcing complex and strategic functions to emerging economies where labour rates are rising exponentially, in order to maintain cost competitiveness and deliver value, the service providers will provide service that constantly improves in efficiency and execution.

13. Let’s get financial

Since overall financial success will still be the ultimate measure of value generation in public enterprises, Supply Management will revolve around the financial supply chain and will be heavily involved in optimizing cash flows, working capital, and financing programs from NPD through return and disposal.

14. SM pros get sophisticated

Supply Management professionals will definitely be much more sophisticated in 2020 than they are today. As the secret agents that essentially drive all aspects of the business, their business savvy, analytical capabilities, relationship skills, and overall execution abilities will be, for the most part, a level above where they are today.

15. Supply pros expand expertise

This is the obvious result of a supply managmeent professional getting more sophisticated. It should not have been included as a separate prediction because it’s impossible to get more sophisticated in Supply Management without expanding depth of expertise in key areas.

16. Strategy scope widens

One does not get to the next level by maintaining a narrow focus, so it should also be obvious that the scope of strategy addressed by an average Supply Management organization is going to expand as well. The strategy will be more closely aligned with the needs of the organization’s end customers and be more cognizant of the needs of the current, and future, customer base. Supply Management will be increasingly called upon not only to analyze merger and acquisition possibilities, but to lead the initiative as success will depend upon succesfull integration of the end-to-end supply chains. And it will be involved in all NPD from day one to help identify customer needs and supplier capabilities before any decisions are made.

The next post will address the other seven predictions that were dead-on.

It’s Not Technology, People, or Process — It’s Execution (Key NPX Take Away 4)

As you probably guessed from the title, this post continues our discussion of the key take aways from The Mpower Group‘s Next Practices Xchange and its discussion of what is required to get to the next level of supply management. Now that we have defined value, defined how we get to value, and how we capture value in contracts, the next thing we have to discuss is how important it is to get to execution as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The reality is that it doesn’t matter how good a process is, how modern the supporting technology is, or how good and well managed the people are if the organization doesn’t execute. The foundations are not enough. A Supply Management organization needs to execute on those foundations to get to value. As Dalip Raheja of
The Mpower Group likes to say, it’s not about the consonants (the foundations), it’s about the vowels (the execution on the foundations) beause Old MacDonald Was Right.

A Supply Management organization that doesn’t execute on the foundations never gets beyond best practices and traditional TCO. This will get an organization good results, but it won’t get the organization to world class status in these tight economic times. An organization needs to Adopt the plan, Execute on the plan, Implement the required changes, Optimize its operations on an ongoing basis, and appropriately Utilize the skillsets and technology it has available to get to the next level. One has to remember that simply having the best practices, processes, and technology isn’t enough. Even though it will make an organization a Toyota, it won’t necessarily make the organization sustainable in the long term. Only an organization with sustainable sourcing strategies can get to the next level.

An organization focussed on getting to the next level will go beyond the metrics and KPIs used to measure suppliers but focus on how the relationships will be established and holistically managed to extract maximum value for both parties. The contract is only the beginning of the relationship. Similar principles apply to relationships within the organization. The Supply Management organization goes beyond being a tactical service provider (who gets the contract and secures the supply) to a strategic consultant (who advises on what types of products and services are truly required in the first place and what suppliers should be approached in any event).

It’s only when the Supply Management organization starts focussing on the needs of the organization as a whole that it can truly achieve value. Unlike cost, which is at the component (product or service) level, value is at the system level and only materializes when the entire system is balanced. A truly valuable supply contract doesn’t sacrifice quality for cost, risk mitigation for expediency, or comfort for potential (but not yet realized) innovation. Just like cost can’t be reduced by selecting a lower cost supplier that will result in higher logistics costs, value can’t be created by looking at any single component as it’s holistic, and it results from proper execution of the vowels. As Dalip likes to say, it’s E-I-E-I-O.