… and each and every one costs the organization. Sourcing is supposed to be the savings engine that powers the enterprise value engine that relies on enough cost control to maintain the cash flow required by the enterprise.
But achieving savings in souring requires success, and success can only happen if the event is appropriate and appropriately conducted. But, even though many organizations think they know the right way to conduct an RFX, Auction, or other sourcing event, the reality is that they don’t really know the right way. They know the basics, but the basics are never enough.
Why not? Because little mistakes are often made from minute one they add up, costing the organization opportunity with each mis-step. So what are the common mis-steps? There are a number, but the following three are big ones that should never be overlooked.
1. The Specs
Too often the specs provided by the stakeholder are taken as the specs and accepted more-or-less as-is with just a few minor tweaks and clarifications. The problem with this is that the specs are what the stakeholder thinks they need, not what they actually need. Take Engineering — the specs are written to match the component from their favourite supplier. Take Marketing — the specs for an engagement are usually a mirror of those supplied by their favourite agency. And so on. But if Engineering is being tasked to design a new controller, the FPGA doesn’t necessarily need to be the one they’ve used in the past. There might be a better option. And if Marketing needs to get costs down, then they need to consider separating out creative services from production services from material spend, and not request all-in-one proposals. And so on.
2. The Invited Suppliers
Typically, the invited suppliers are, more or less, the same suppliers invited to the last event or the small set of known suppliers in the database. Only for a mostly new category is supplier discovery done, and, typically, these are suppliers in the supplier network, which, of course, is limited to those suppliers the organization have done business with or those suppliers the organization wants to do business with. But these are not always the best suppliers for the stakeholder and/or the organization. And the sourcing team doesn’t do enough discovery to find the potentially best suppliers, and deprives the organization of what could be a new source of value.
3. The RFI
Many sourcing events don’t start with an RFI that focusses on the appropriateness of the supplier before inviting the supplier to submit a bid on a product or service. The stability, sustainability, social responsibility, and support capability of the supplier in the locales the organization does business in should be considered even before the ability to offer the product or service is evaluated.
Get this right, and maybe your events will be more successful and identify greater value as time goes on. And that’s the true purpose of Sourcing: Value, not Savings.