Yesterday, we noted that the article published in Chief Executive last year on Seven Tips for Succeeding in Asia actually provided seven tips for succeeding in any market and, briefly, explained why. Today, as promised, we are going to review the supply management corollary to each of these seven tips because they will help you increase the value of your Supply Management organization.
So, without further ado, here are the seven tips for creating a successful Supply Management Organization.
- To expand your organizational influence, pick a department with an unmet need your organization can readily fulfill.
For example, let’s say you are not yet supporting any marketing and legal spend and know that you have to go after one of these sacred cows to increase your spend under management. Let’s also say that you just hired a new analyst who was a marketer in a past life and who has experience sourcing creative services from his past job but not a single professional in your organization knows anything about e-Discovery, which is Legal’s issue of the day. In this case, you should go after Marketing as you have someone who can help them source better talent more efficiently, and save them money by decoupling non-value added services.
- Find a mentor on the Board (of Directors) who understands the value you can bring to the organization and can help you forge stronger ties with the C-Suite.
This will get you more support across the organization and will inevitably help improve your financial situation as other budget holders see the value in supporting your efforts. Eventually, they will be willing to pay their share of system upgrades, GPO fees, or contract labour who you identify as being able to reduce their costs and/or increase the value they offer.
- Scale your organization by learning the language of finance.
Let’s face it, if you can’t explain to the CFO in a language she understands that the budget and cost savings calculations should not be decoupled, you will be forever doomed with constantly being tasked to do more with less until the organization implodes under the weight of an increasingly impossible task. You need to be able to demonstrate the ROI of investments in training, technology, and talent to get the budget you need to deliver the savings the organization wants, and the ROI you know your Supply Management organization is capable of with sufficient budget.
- Be sure to consult regularly with the IP specialist on your legal team.
Considering that you will be sourcing contract manufacturing and services from value-added services providers who could very easily copy your products and steal your expertise, you need to make sure you are adequately protected to discourage this from happening, especially in foreign markets.
- Keep an eye on your ROI, especially when services and SaaS contracts are about to come up for renewal.
While there isn’t an advanced sourcing technique or technology that won’t save you money in the right situation when properly applied, not all techniques and technologies are created equal, and neither are all situations. If a service provider isn’t delivering the value you expect, they may need to be replaced. And if a technology platform isn’t delivering a decent ROI, it definitely has to be replaced. Your cash is limited. You can’t be wasting your budget on non-ROI products and services when there are dozens of products and services that can save you double digits and provide an ROI of 3X to 10X, or more.
- Go after the low-hanging fruit first.
The fruit at the top of the tree may be juicier, but it is a lot more difficult to pick, and the risk of falling off of the ladder and seriously injuring yourself is much greater. Start with the easier wins, gain experience, and work your way up to the harder wins.
- Reward success with bonus pay tied to performance.
Give your top talent the opportunity to increase their compensation without ceiling, and watch your savings soar and value surge. Just be sure to tie the compensation to appropriate metrics, because you get what you incentivize! (But, whatever you do, don’t put a ceiling on potential compensation. If you know you’re not going to make any more money, why would you work harder? There’s a reason the most successful companies in the enterprise space don’t limit the earning potential of their sales-people. They know that every dollar earned in commission puts ten dollars in their bank account, and the shareholders know that, at the end of the day, every $10 in the bank ramps up valuation by $20 to $100 and makes them many times richer in the end than the sales-person. If you think about it, a truly successful organization is one where the top sales-person and the top buyer both take home more than the average CXO!)
And this is how you begin to create a successful Supply Management organization. There’s a lot more to success, but these corollaries are a good starting point.