Procurement 2020: We’re Off Track, But Can We Get Back on Track? Part I

As per our recent post that asked if we were on track for Procurement 2020, we’re off track. Way off track. So far off track that we can’t even see which direction the track was in.

Hackett told us way back in 2008 what we needed to do to get where we needed to be, but most Procurement organizations are still nowhere close to where they should be, even though most of it is easy-peasy.

Business Process Sourcing

This is easy to get under control, it just requires some good planning and process mapping. Specifically, an organization has to map all of its processes, define the knowledge-centric strategic aspects versus the manual-processing tactical aspects, and then figure out the benefit of each part of the process with respect to the cost.

If the benefit is low, the cost is high, and the process is tactical, it is a prime candidate for outsourcing. If the cost is low, the benefit is high, and the process is knowledge-centric, the process is a poor candidate for outsourcing. Organizations need to maintain their knowledge and strategic advantages and outsource that which brings them no benefit when performed internally.

An organization that takes the time to map its processes and understand them can find the right candidates for outsourcing and manage them appropriately.

Supply Performance Management (SPM) & Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)

While this was a major oversight in first generation Sourcing systems, this is a common module in second generation Sourcing systems and over the past few years a number of expert consultancies and solution vendors have come on the scene that can help you get your SPM and SRM processes up to snuff. They have n-step processes that can be used to help you get an understanding of where you are on the SPM and SRM maturity curves, what you can do to get better, and how you can figure out how you compare to the market average and the best-in-class.

In addition, there is a lot more information on SPM and SRM, what it is, how to do it, and the importance of it to your supply chain on the various blogs and publications then there was a decade ago. Those who seek out and make use of this information can progress well ahead of the curve. (And a couple of overviews will be made freely available to SI readers over the next month or so as part of a larger offering … stay tuned.)

Knowledge Management

A decade ago, it was unheard of to have more than half of spend under management, and if you said that one day you’d have integrated spend data, you risked being put in an asylum. However, with modern platforms that provide an organization with the ability to not only push all payments through a common platform, but all purchases through a common platform that supports integrated internal and external catalogues — whether they be cXML punch-out, EDI, flat-file, data-base driven, or custom entries — things have changed. When all requisitions and purchases can go through one platform, all spend gets in one database, and the organization has visibility into all of its spend and can plot a course to get the majority of its spend under management.

In other words, we can return the engine to the tracks, but an effort will have to be made to do so. How much of an effort? Stay tuned for Part II.