Hopefully you caught the recent webinar on The Direct Procurement Challenge or at least downloaded Sourcing Innovation’s recent paper on The Direct Procurement Challenge and realize that not all platforms are cut out for direct procurement. The majority of Procurement platforms were custom designed for indirect procurement and only handle those categories well.
The core issue is that direct procurement is typically much more complex than indirect procurement and requires capabilities that are not typically found in indirect platforms. As per our recent post on 5 Reasons Why You Need to Take the Direct Procurement Challenge, there are (at least) fifteen (15) capability requirements that a direct sourcing professional requires to efficiently and effectively source direct categories, and none of these are completely satisfied by indirect procurement platforms. To be more precise, nine are only partially satisfied and six are not satisfied at all.
That’s why you need the right platform, with the right capability, and an understanding of what that capability is and how to use it. Pool4Tool has been heavily focussed on educating you on the why (with the aforementioned white-paper, a two-part white-paper on The Procurement Value Engine Part I, and upcoming papers on Value-Based Sourcing and Virtual Procurement Centers of Excellence), and core capabilities to look for, so in these posts we are going to discuss the Pool4Tool platform and some key capabilities it has to support your direct procurement.
Pool4Tool has a very extensive platform with capabilities that not only span the traditional Source to Pay process, but also what we’re going to call the Procure to Produce process, as it can also manage inventory and production processes as part of its PLM capabilities. And all of this, as anyone who read the paper or attended the podcast would infer, allows everything to be done in a very supplier centric manner so that all of the needs — material composition, quality, delivery, etc. — can be evaluated in a balanced fashion against each and every supplier.
Pool4Tool capabilities can be divided into 4 (four) major buckets: Sourcing, Procurement, SRM, and SCM. Today we’re going to tackle the sourcing bucket.
Pool4Tool sourcing capability consists of standard RFX and auction capability, which is found in any e-Sourcing platform, but also includes sophisticated cost breakdown analysis and bill of materials support. A key requirement for any direct platform is bill of materials (BoM) support, and the need for BoM support is a key differentiator between indirect — where you are buying finished products for use or distribution — and direct — where you are buying dozens, if not hundreds, of raw materials and components to complete a product. Furthermore, these cannot be purchased separately or put out in separate lots as they all have to be compatible and meet rigid, interlocking, specifications in order for the product to be properly assembled and meet the quality requirements. In the Pool4Tool product, the Bill of Materials can have as many components as needed, and can be included in the cost breakdown analysis which can also include energy costs, labour, and overhead costs. This analysis can be done by product by supplier and insures that only useable bids are considered.
In addition to RFX and auction capabilities, designed for direct, it also has contract management capability. The contract management module, while not a best of breed enterprise contract management solution with deep authoring support, is just as good as the contract management capability found in the majority of sourcing platforms, and includes the capability to store and index all necessary documents required by the sourcing process, as well as search the (meta) data associated with those contracts. Finally, it also has deep catalog management capability that can store all direct, indirect, and even standard service requirements required by the company that can be used to either (insta-)buy products and services as needed or kick-off sourcing projects by populating requirements in RFX or auctions.
In Part II, we will discuss the e-Procurement and SRM capability of the Pool4Tool platform.