Right Now, Savings Are Everywhere …

… because you don’t have your costs under control. While there is no such thing as true savings, because finding savings just means that you weren’t spending optimally to begin with, the reality is that you are not spending optimally. Not even in your most strategic categories where you are putting the most of your effort. This is because you are not applying both leading strategic sourcing decision optimization and leading spend analysis to this category across multiple levels on a global category scale. (Even if you own both technologies, chances are you don’t own best of breed in both, and even if you are that one in a thousand company, the doctor has seen the most complex optimization models that are being built by the average company, and they are still elementary compared to what models could, and should, be built.)

So, even if you are given an unrealistic savings target, if it’s 10% or less, it is easy to meet because, until you have applied these two advanced sourcing technologies to every single category, and done so in a three-year time span (as costs always creep back in to a category over time, and that’s why GPOs and niche consultancies find you savings on the same category again and again if sourced three to five years apart), there is overspending everywhere. So, if you can just get your CFO to write the cheque, acquire these technologies, and apply them appropriately, you’re going to find significant savings on the 60% to 80% of your non-tail spend, which hides even higher levels of savings (as we have discussed here on SI in the past).

And then, since the secret to cost control is to source everything, make sure you are buying everything that costs 5 figures or more through an RFX or Auction, and, in many cases, preferably one that is automatically configured and run for you by the platform with little buyer involvement beyond keeping the approved supplier database up to date and verifying the award before the contract or PO is sent to the winning supplier. And if you actually manage to find the majority of savings across your leading spend and tail spend, limiting potential year-over-year cost reductions to 3% in the following year, you’ve still only scratched the surface.

Just because your organization has optimized it’s spend, that doesn’t mean that your strategic / high volume supply base has optimized their spend. This is where supplier development and supplier (relationship) management comes into play. If you help your top x suppliers, where this X constitutes 80% of your strategic spend, and over 50% of your spend, save 10% by optimizing their procurement, you lower your costs on this half of your spend by 10%, and there’s another 5% without doing anything but process improvement. But we always know that savings don’t stop at process improvement, they continue with product improvements that enhance quality, reduce manufacturing costs, and reduce reliance on rare earth metals or non-renewable materials — all of which can be identified with the right innovation.

So, in CFO speak, savings are everywhere, and you should have no problem finding significant savings as long as you acquire, and apply, the right tools for the job. This means if you don’t have appropriate advanced sourcing technologies, you have to go get them. They are worth it.

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