Daily Archives: November 20, 2014

Procurement Trend #15. System Integration with Partners

A dozen anti-trends from those wild and crazy guys still remain, and as much as we’d like to find some entertainment value in what they have to offer, we must agree with LOLCat who is bored with our continuing anti-trend coverage and, like the foxes the wild and crazy guys like to chase, instead flee from the obnoxious diatribe they thrust upon us.

So why do so many historians keep pegging system integration with partners as a future trend? I honestly can’t fathom this as Big Blue has been pushing integration projects for decades, but maybe it is because they’ve been living in the corporate cave (as Procurement is still relegated to the basement in many organizations) and:

  • e-Procurement benefits like invoice Automation require some system integration

    because invoices come from suppliers and often have to get into AP systems on the way through the e-Procurement system

  • supply chain visibility is critical for risk mitigation

    because you cannot take action to protect against a disruption if you do not know that a disruptive event occurred

  • strategic planning is improved with good data

    because even though you can make great strategic plans without data, it’s just a theoretical exercise if the plan depends on postulated conditions that do not actually exist in the real world

So what does this mean?

System integration

Not only do you need to brush up on your IT skills, but you have to brush up on your IT project management skills too. System integration projects have been responsible for some of the worst supply chain disasters in history. Don’t believe me? Review Supply Chain Digest’s top supply chain disasters and notice that 9 of the 11 top failures were as a result of technology, and all but one of these technology failures was at least partly, if not entirely, IT technology!

Supply Chain Visibility

You need to implement a multi-tier supply chain visibility. Knowing your supplier’s status is not good enough, you need to know your supplier’s supplier status and sometimes even the status of the supplier of your supplier’s supplier — especially if raw materials acquisition is the weakest link in the chain. Leave no stone unturned that could be covering a ticking time-bomb.

Good Data

When we say good data, we mean good data. Not just data because not all data is good. If it has a lot of holes, is inaccurate, or is too old, it’s bad data, and all analysis on bad data leads to is bad information that results in bad decisions. But good data can lead to good information and then good decisions, and, in an appropriate model, it can lead to actionable intelligence that can power great decisions.