One Size Does Not Fit All – That’s Why You Need User Configurable Workflows

Andrew just posted a great post over on CPO Rising on how One Size Does Not Fit All where e-Sourcing and e-Procurement is concerned. As Andrew astutely notes, process standardization is very important within Supply Management, but having only one option for e-Sourcing or e-Procurement events is certainly not the way to go.

One has to remember that even in the simplest classification scheme, you will break your events into quadrants based on dollar value and business impact (or supply challenge and business impact). For low value, low impact events, you’re not going to use a process that requires a lot of time and effort, because you need that on high-value, high impact categories. Similarly, you’re not going to use an automated e-Auction for a high-value, high-impact category and essentially throw the category to the wind. As Andrew notes in the first example in his post, if the process is set up for large, high-value, multi-stakeholder process, it’s not going to work for small, low-value, single stakeholder processes as it will be too cumbersome and your buyers will do everything they can to bypass or ignore it.

In order for your solution to work, it needs to support multiple project configurations that can be defined by the client. For example, the client should be able to configure simple, automated e-Auctions for low-value, low-impact categories; automated e-RFXs for low-value, high-impact categories and high-value, low-impact categories where Procurement personnel only need to get involved in final review and award; and full-fledged multi-round RFX and Decision Optimization for high-value, high-impact categories. (Now, every category should run a baseline optimization scenario before an award is made, but extended analysis does not need to be done for all categories.)

And, further more, it needs to be easy for a Director or CPO to grant exceptions to the process when they are appropriate. For example, as per Andrew’s 3rd example, it should not take months of back and forth to remove a “mandatory” automobile insurance provision when no automobiles are being used! So make sure your solution is configurable, or it might not last long in your client’s Supply Management department.