We all know the importance of a good Sourcing Platform to power our Procurement Value Engine. But even after multiple posts (on Sourcing Innovation) and (white) papers on the topic, one still might not be convinced that an optimization-backed sourcing platform is truly necessary. If the organization is still getting reasonably good results from its (last-generation) sourcing suite, has a large number of templates, workflows, and processes configured for its key/strategic categories, and has a consultancy/service provider that handles its tougher events (and they use an optimization-powered platform for those few really complex or high-dollar categories), it might think that everything is fine. And the reality is that everything is fine … until it isn’t!
from How Optimization-Backed Sourcing Platforms Save Our Souls . . . Or At Least Our Backsides
One has to understand that disruptions don’t only occur in the supply chain after the contract is signed, they occur during the sourcing process, and a significant disruption can result in an evergreen contract renewing at above market prices (which is bad) or a contract expiring and the organization left with insufficient inventory and no source of supply in a tight market (which is worse). And even if the disruption doesn’t result in an evergreen renewal or a (costly) inventory stock-out (that shuts down a production line), it can still result in increased costs, increased risks, and missed opportunities.
Sourcing events need to go smoothly, but in a typical sourcing platform, as may of you know, that’s not always the case. Sometimes suppliers change the rules, and sometimes the rules just change, and everything, as they say, quickly goes to hell in a handbasket.
For example, all of a sudden at the 11th hour, a fire happens or a border closes, and a supplier offers you a backup location, or pulls out, and you need to bring in a supplier at a new location. Your transportation bids are useless, your risk profile is unuseably skewed, and maybe even your whole event setup is useless, and you have to start over. And this is just one of a dozen scenarios that can flip an average buyer’s world upside down with an average sourcing platform.
But if you had a flexible optimization-backed sourcing platform, instead of going back to square one, you’d just keep on truckin’ with an optimization-backed sourcing platform as they are designed, from the gorund up, to support dynamic, complex, cost models, dozens of what-if scenarios, and ever changing real-world requirements and made for change.
A factory and associated lanes disappears, no problem, it is just removed from the model with a single click. A new one is added? No problem, define the associated end points, the lanes are automatically populated, and a partial bid survey can be resent to all incumbent suppliers for revised bids. These are then loaded into the model, amalgamated with current bids, and the model is solved. No starting from scratch, creating new RFPs, creating a new model structure, etc. Just a few simple changes, a few new bids, and everything keeps on going like nothing ever happened.
And this is only one way optimization-backed sourcing platforms save a buyer’s behind. For more, check out the doctor‘s latest paper on How Optimization-Backed Sourcing Platforms Save Our Souls . . . Or At Least Our Backsides, sponsored by Trade Extensions, and realize that if you don’t have one, you need a proper sourcing platform today.