Simply put, the more informed you are, the better you are going to be able to source and procure. And this recent article over on the HBR blogs on why you need to integrate data into products, or get left behind just scratches the surface.
As the post notes, virtually every product and service can be made more valuable through informationalization. The GPS example provided is classic. Turn-by-turn directions make the car more valuable as the driver can keep his eyes on the road, get to his destination faster, and, during delivery, avoid left turns that just lead to extended idling at busy intersections. And, as predicted by Stewart Taggert, half of the value in the delivery of a shipping container from halfway around the world would be in the data associated with the container. Good information allows you to calculate in-transit time, and associated costs, loading and unloading costs, storage costs, insurance costs (as you can appropriately determine the chance of accidental loss or theft), etc.
But the best example of the value of informationalization is how it allows you to optimize your sourcing decisions. The more you know about your product options, shipping options, associated costs, and the inherent value of each product versus your other options, the more accurately you can model your options. The more accurately you can model your options, the better chance you have of determining the solution with the lowest cost, the lowest risk, the highest value, and the best value (defined as risk reduction, profit generation capability, etc — whatever makes sense) to cost ratio. And this is how leading Supply Management organizations can save 12%, on average, off-the-top in an optimization-enabled sourcing event — and even more if they collaboratively work with their peers to identify all of the options that may be available and all of the associated tradeoffs. As pointed out in SI’s recent paper on Top Ten Technologies for Supply Management Savings Today, integrated, collaborative sourcing can often identify savings opportunities of up to 30% or 40% on categories that were exhaustively combed for savings in the past.
Plus, good information allows your organization to:
- constantly improve products and services by way of the fact that you are able to
- collect more relevant, timely, accurate, detailed, and integrated data.
And when you have relevant, timely, accurate, detailed, and integrated data, you can take out your best-of-breed data analysis tool, use the tips and tricks SI outlined in it’s free e-book (co-authored by Bernard Gunther of Lexington Analytics, now a division of Opera Solutions) on Spend Visibility: An Implementation Guide, and extract even more value for the organization by optimizing not just Supply Management spend, but utilization, service, warranties, Marketing & Legal spend, and every other product and service activity that burns capital and/or creates organizational value.