… but be sure to focus on the right characteristics first. Reviewing a recent summary of A.T. Kearney’s 2011 Assessment of Excellence in Procurement Study over on the A.T. Kearney site on why you should Follow the Procurement Leaders that described seven ways to lasting results, I couldn’t help but notice that they had all the right suggestions, but in reverse order. Starting from the bottom of the list, and working our way up, we see that the suggestions will transform your organization from an average performer to best in class.
- Win the “War for Talent”.
This is the first T necessary for supply chain success and the most critical one. No supply chain function can be happen without someone in place to plan, manage, and execute it — and for any function to be planned, managed, and executed in an optimal manner, you need world-class talent.
- Adopt Technology.
This is the second T necessary for supply chain success and the next most critical one. Once you have found the right talent to take your supply chain to the next level, you need to enable your talent with the right technology to make them as efficient and effective as possible.
- Transition to Category Strategies.
As the article notes leading procurement organizations use more advanced toolkits — systematically employing more than twice as many methods as the followers — to tailor their approaches to each situation. That’s why leading e-Sourcing / e-Procurement providers are now offering platforms with category templates / workflow management capabilities to allow platform customization to each organizational category and support the third T of supply chain success.
- Use Supplier Relationship Management.
Suppliers are key to supply chain success, and leaders manage the relationship to get the most out of it. They use suppliers to improve innovation and growth, monitor compliance and risk management, and improve capabilities across the supply chain.
- Manage Risk Systematically.
Leaders use risk-impact analysis, financial risk management, and disaster planning as ways to protect against, and mitigate the effects, of disruptions — unlike the risk management “followers” that constitute 80% of companies that are a single natural disaster away from a major supply disruption.
- Contribute to Top and Bottom Lines.
It’s not just about cost reduction, but about value generation. Good Supply Management doesn’t just stop at cost reduction, but goes onto demand reduction, component innovation, product innovation, and even market innovation. This is done by managing risks, managing supplier relations, applying category strategies, using technology, and using all of the skills your talent possesses.
- Align with the Business.
Leading supply management organizations support the business strategy. And while this is the most important goal from the viewpoint of Supply Management, as the goal is to increase the image of Supply Management in the organization, this can not be accomplished until all of the pieces of the puzzle, described in the first six steps, are in place.