One of the most useful, and possibly controversial take aways, from the NPX exchange put on by The Mpower Group is that a Next Practice organization should not have cost as part of its value equation as a focus on cost has not only not served the Supply Management community well, but has destroyed incalculable value over the years. This is especially true in high-value or strategic categories.
Cost should be viewed as just another component risk, and in particular, the risk of cost increase beyond an acceptable level is what the organization should be focussed on. Furthermore, once the organization has established that cost is in an acceptable band, the organization should remove cost from the equation entirely in high value and strategic categories.
The reality is that for some categories, a +/- of up to 5% is insignificant when compared to the critical factors of stability of supply, quality, and flexibility. Consider the Apple iPad. While it is obviously in Apple’s best interest to drive down cost as much as possible, it’s more important that Apple be able to guarantee supply, quality, and flexibility in its supply chain. The extra savings of $2 on each unit will not make up for the loss in profit if Apple fails to deliver on 100,000 orders. Nor will it make up for the warranty costs if the quality drops to the point where Apple has to make 25% more repairs under service contract.
So if you really want to focus on value, band cost, and then remove it from the top-level value equation altogether as cost control then becomes simply another component of risk management in the overall value equation. The organization just might see better results in its high-value and strategic categories.