In part one, which lamented our recent post that asked if we were on track for Procurement 2020 because the reality is that we are way, way, off track, we discussed business process sourcing, supply performance management (SPM) and supplier relationship management (SRM), and knowledge management, three of the six levers that need to be properly pulled to get Procurement on track for 2020, as identified by Hackett way back in 2008. In this post, we will discuss the other three levers and discuss whether or not there is still time to properly pull them.
While tomes can be written about this subject, of all of the fixes that are required, this is the easiest. All one has to do to get things back on track is to reinstate the training budget, give the team the time to get and take training, give Procurement the resources it needs to attract and retain top talent, and sit back while the talent takes your Procurement up a notch. That’s it. It really is easy-peasy. You don’t even need the big red button!
Next Level Strategic Sourcing
This is also an easy fix. Get a true next generation sourcing platform designed for complex tenders that can support true strategic sourcing decision optimization and next level sourcing, get training on what next level sourcing is, and just do it. For more information on what this is, check out Sourcing Innovation’s paper on Optimization: What Comes Next and its upcoming paper on Complex Sourcing, being released on October 7th.
New Product Development & Introduction
Once processes are under control, knowledge is captured and maintained, talent is where it needs to be, platforms are in place, and next level sourcing processes have been instituted, Procurement is going to get results and respect. When it is able to demonstrate to Engineering how involving it earlier in the process will save money and increase value, it will get invited to the table earlier in the process and will eventually be asked to consult and provide guidance on every NPD/NPI opportunity. It will help lead the organization into new markets, rather than just scrambling to make the best of the poor situation it is placed in. And it will be able to do this because it will already have collected the market knowledge, already have cost model baselines that it can use to create should-cost models, already know where to look for the market intelligence to predict the costs associated with different options, and so on.
In other words, we can get back on track, but only if some major changes happen.
- Talent needs to come first.
- Knowledge needs to be captured.
- Platforms and processes need to be in place to support purchasing and capture spend.
- Suppliers need to be engaged, monitored, and developed.
- Sourcing needs to be taken up a notch.
This is all feasible with today’s knowledge and today’s platforms, and the vision can be realized, but a serious commitment has to be made by the organization which also has to stop focusing on, and more importantly, measuring Procurement on savings and savings alone. It’s not cost reduction. It’s cost avoidance and management. It’s knowing that going too far to save a penny today will cost a pound tomorrow. It’s making the best overall decision to not lower costs now at the expense of being locked into higher costs for for years to come when the organization should be investing in suppliers and platforms that will generate additional value for the organization down the road.
Will it happen? In a few, forward thinking organizations, yes. In the average organization still dancing to the drum of Wall Street, probably not. And it’s a shame. But as global market situations worsen and short-sighted companies begin to fail, far-sighted companies, where Procurement is encouraged to take a longer term view, will gain market share and those that re-institue long term five and ten year plans will prosper the most. While the state of affairs won’t be what they should when we reach 2020, maybe 2030 will see an improvement (and Procurement optometrists will have to adjust their vision scales).