The Advanced Supply Management Phoenix Takes Flight

As indicated in our last post, Procurement needs to evolve, fast, or join the elephants in the elephants’ graveyard. But, as we also indicated, just making the natural progressing to an advanced strategic sourcing function that is based on an advanced (optimization-backed) sourcing solution is just the beginning. While this will likely extend your longevity by (at least) a decade, it’s not enough to grant you a permanent stay of execution.

The next step, as hinted at, is advanced spend analytics that can find value opportunities across categories through category re-organization, raw material identification and sourcing on behalf of a supplier, multi-level service and MRO category identification (for advanced sourcing), hidden trend identification, demand shift opportunity for category and SKU rationalization, and other value capture opportunities that out-of-the-box reports and even GPOs and consultants miss.

But don’t stop there … eventually those opportunities will be found and more and more opportunity detection algorithms will be encoded in standard analytics suites to the point where the majority of these opportunities will be detected by advanced, machine learning, cognitive analytics suites.

Move on to Supply Base Design. Don’t just source each category on its own, source each category in the context of an optimized supply base that will allow for SKU rationalization, logistics cost reduction, supplier development across a greater portion of the rationalized supply base, access to government benefits from a concentration of business activity in a region, and so on.

And do this in conjunction with design for reduce, reuse, recycle, and recovery (4Rs) so that there is no waste, especially where the corporation is responsible for taking the product, or something it contains, back under appropriate governmental regulations. And even if there are no governmental regulations, if there are valuable components that can be reused, recycled, or sold for other uses, helping the organization reclaim dollars that used to seep out the door is valuable. Plus, it shows that you can help with product design and redesign and bring value that consumer-oriented design will miss.

But don’t stop there … help your suppliers with their own supply base design and design for 4Rs to push value creation further down into the supply chain. At some point, the only value will come from enabling your suppliers to cut costs and innovate in value-generating ways that they previously could not.

And then you will survive regardless of what future exists.

If the mega-corporate world materializes, your ability to push down into the value chain will give you an edge that makes it worth keeping you around. Even if there are only three big guys for each product, going down a level there are nine big guys contributing to your product, and down another level there are twenty-seven … not only does each level of the supply chain have to be appropriately filled, but any improvement at any point of the chain will bring value.

If the project economy materializes, your ability to identify an appropriate supply base that can work with you to design for the 4Rs and minimize SKUs while maximizing stakeholder value will make you the most valuable project management candidate out there.

And if we return to the barter economy, your ability to work with suppliers to design what is needed, in the most efficient way possible, and help them identify how your products will be more valuable than your competition’s. This will be much more attractive to a potential supplier than some sales guy pushing a lower priced product that the supplier doesn’t really want.

In other word’s, if Procurement can transform to a true advanced Sourcing organization, it can survive. Otherwise, I’m sure the elephants are making room as you read this.

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