Monthly Archives: April 2024

OneMarket Continues to Power Your Procurement with Its P2P (Procure-to-Pay) Solution

As per our last post on how OneMarket Sources Your Contracts with Insights in its new Integrated Source-to-Contract Portfolio, LogicSource was founded in 2009 by experienced professionals who wanted to improve sourcing and procurement in organizations that didn’t have the knowledge, experience, and infrastructure to execute in an efficient, effective, and transparent manner. Their view was that every consultancy can offer advice, but not every consultancy can help the customer implement that advice and get results.

In order to do this, they decided to build out an end-to-end suite to support their indirect/tail-spend clients with their particular service-oriented needs. As per our last post, they launched OneMarket for Source-to-Contract in 2020, which followed the Procure-to-Pay (P2P) solution that they have had since they acquired the Cirqit P2P solution in 2009. It was updated and rebranded as OneMarket P2P since OneMarket launched in 2012 and has undergone continual development and updates through 12 versions since 2009.

The UX has been updated and is maintained to be consistent with the rest of their platform and the solution is tightly integrated with their analytics solution and supports very detailed PO, Invoice, and Spend Analysis on all transactions that go through the platform.

Buyer Side Procurement

The platform was designed to be a simple shop, buy, pay experience that supported simple quotes (bid-and-buy RFQ) for standard / repeatedly purchased products (to negate the need for a full sourcing event), single and multi-supplier catalogs, and rate cards for standard services. It’s really easy for a user to generate a requisition using each of these capabilities, as well as selecting options against approved supplier purchase orders (POs), blanket POs, and, as just mentioned, rate card POs. They support approval chains of 0 or more suppliers (where orders to approved suppliers with negotiated pricing within budget can be setup as auto-approved where there exist approved supplier, blanket, or rate card POs) which can be configured on implementation and updated on an as-needed bases by administrators.

When a Purchase Order is approved, it goes out to the supplier who can reject it (if there is no contractual requirement), request a change order, or accept it and flip it to an invoice with as few as two clicks (if they intend to ship in full), or a few key field updates of unit fields (if they are fulfilling with a partial order). Once the invoice comes in, it goes into its own approval stream of 0 or more approvals (as rules can be configured so that exact-match invoices under a dollar amount are auto-approved), and when approved for payment, the ok-to-pay is pushed to the organization’s system. In addition, if the payment system is integrated, the platform will monitor for updates and update the invoice status when the invoice is paid.

Dashboard

The entry point to the buyer’s P2P application is the Dashboard that summarizes:

  • Requests awaiting their approvals
  • Their requests in process

LogicSource understands their target market are overworked, often don’t have Procurement as their primary role, and aren’t the most advanced on the Procurement ladder, and designed the entire application to be as simple and straightforward for the average buyer as possible, and make sure every screen takes them directly to what they want or need to do.

Menus

The buyer application has four primary options:

  • Create: which allows a user to create bid-and-buy projects, request estimates, create purchase orders (from existing approved supplier, blanket, or rate card POs), or enter a non-PO invoice that was received
  • Transactions: which allows a user to access their estimates, orders, invoices, reviews, and projects
  • Catalog: that allows the user to access their catalog(s) (which can be integrated or held separate), and which can be drilled into by organization (which limits the items that need to be searched and ensures the services and items that are found are those that have been approved)
  • Analytics: that takes the buyer to the analytics application

Catalogs

Catalogs are hosted and work exactly as you would expect, with standard search, filter, and one-click select, but the level of item detail is deeper than you expect, and the ability to manage internal inventory, supplier commitments, volume-based pricing, and order minimums or maximums goes well beyond a standard P2P catalog. (Punch-out catalogs are coming, but the plan is to support hybrid or internal hosting as much as possible as their application supports more information and capability than punch-out catalogs.)

Search is by item id or description, and can be quick-filtered by category, supplier, status, keyword(s), and organization (which provide cross-catalog subsets relative to the different buyers and departments in the company). When a user selects a catalog, all they have to do is specify an order quantity to add it to a requisition.

When it comes to catalog item details, which can be seen upon drill in and maintained by the organizational administrator(s) as needed, the catalog will specify the internal item code, version, description, category (and subcategory), target organization, location types supported, keywords, whether or not the supplier is preferred, supplier part id, manufacturer item number, brand, more detailed description, inventory Unit of Measure, Quantity per Unit of Measure (i.e. there might be 50 gloves in a box), organizational item status, activation date, deactivated date if inactive, standard order quantity suggestion, organizational product owner, inventory manager, primary buyer, barcode, and any additional comments. In addition, the cost allocation can be pre-specified in the catalog item so the buyer doesn’t have to deal with it (and select the wrong/default “other” category all the time, which, of course, screws up analytics). Finally, if there is volume pricing or order limitations from the supplier, these can be defined as well as any commitments the supplier has made to item availability at the price points. (Supplier commitments are important as ordering against these can automate requisition approval as pricing and availability have already been confirmed and accepted by the organization.)

When the buyer is done shopping, they can create the requisition which will either be automatically approved and converted into one purchase order per supplier (if there are existing approved supplier or blanket POs and budget is available), or sent off for approval (and the approver will be notified through email and can approve through the email or through the system, as they will also see the request for approval on their dashboard), and then, once approved by the appropriate individuals, there will be one purchase order created per supplier.

Each purchase order will have an auto-generated purchase order number as well as the corresponding order id, order name, requester, contact, and deliver by date automatically extracted from the requisition. It will contain the full item information for each item: id, description, UOM, (agreed upon) catalog price, quantity, line item total, subtotal, tax, order total, (default) shipping information, and any associated digital specification documents. All of this can be updated by the buyer (on an auto-approved PO) or the approver if necessary before the PO is sent to the supplier. Internally (i.e. not shared with the supplier), the Purchase Order will also maintain the cost allocation from the catalog for processing and any associated messages that have been sent between the buyer and supplier.

Bid-And-Buy / Requests for Estimate

A buyer can request a(n updated) quote on one or more existing catalog items or variations with new, detailed, specifications (especially if the catalog item is a placeholder for products that can have multiple configurations or services). Specifications can be extremely detailed and can be configured to go well beyond standard catalog specifications and can have subsections for each type of specification required. For example, for a mailer (for those who still do print campaigns), you can specify the high level project description (header), specific project details (component information), the paper attributes, the artwork details, the prepress details, each individual component (i.e. envelope, mailer, artwork, etc.) that can be drilled into, associated digital files, shipping information, estimate specifications (type:RFQ/Sealed Bid/Auction, due date, expiration date, commitments, etc.), capabilities required, and selected suppliers.

Once the suppliers have responded, the buyer can click into the estimate and see all of the bids by component by supplier with the lowest bid highlighted and preselected. The buyer can select the award as is, or change the award by component, and when the buyer is happy, select it and the requisitions and/or purchase orders (depending on what suppliers were selected, the total cost, existing purchase orders, and approval rules) are automatically created (and, if auto-approved, distributed).

Supplier Side Procurement

The platform is designed to be super easy for suppliers to respond to bid-and-buy requests and orders.

Dashboard

The entry point to the supplier’s P2P application is the Dashboard that summarizes:

  • Bid-and-Buy Estimate Requests awaiting their response
  • Orders
  • Recently Completed Estimates

If you think about how a supplier generally interacts with a buyer platform, it’s to provide quotes, fulfill orders, submit invoices, and request status. The dashboard captures most of this (as the supplier can flip an order to an invoice once they have fulfilled it), and it’s a single click into one of the three main main drop-downs to bring up the invoice (status) screen (although SI feels it would be really useful to have a quick summary of unapproved invoices so a supplier who can’t figure out a menu doesn’t call the buyer asking for a status they can look up themselves).

Menus

The supplier application menu has three primary options:

  • Dashboard: that we just discussed above
  • Create: where they can create change requests and invoices
  • Transactions: where they can access their requests, estimates, orders and invoices

Orders

When a supplier clicks into an order, they see all of the header, client, shipping and line-item information right up front. From here they can accept the order as is and flip it to an invoice, altering the unit quantities to those they can deliver now if they want to, message the buyer for more information, or make a change request, which will be returned as an associated change order if approved by the buyer.

Clicking the ‘Create Invoice’ button takes them to the invoice screen where they can provide more details or alter other information as required (or desired, but changing prices, terms, or delivery dates will prevent a PO match and could delay the buyer’s processing of the invoice). When they are ready, they either accept the PDF generated by the system (as an unalterable historical record) or upload their own (from their AP system), and then it’s one click to submit the invoice (both the application and PDF version) to the buyer.

Centralized Procurement

A lot of LogicSource‘s customers are operations with multiple locations, including brands that own retail chains. These customers need a solution that can help them keep track of spend across their locations, help their locations buy, but do so with corporate policies in place and supplier/distributor minimums in check. The OneMarket solution contains a simplified configuration just for location managers who only need to make orders and manage orders and invoices.

When a location manager logs in, they see a dashboard that summarizes their orders: incomplete, pending receipt – action required, and open; and a search bar where they can begin a search and start a new order. Search brings up all matching results, where they can select a preferred item, enter the quantity they want, and add it to the cart. They can continue until they have everything in the cart, and then go to the cart screen where it groups the items by supplier, shows subtotals by supplier, and indicates, with red highlight, if there are any sub-orders that don’t meet order minimums (or violate any other rules for the supplier). They can then increase the quantity, add more items, or delete all items from that supplier until the entire order meets business rules. When they are happy, it’s one click to check-out and the orders are distributed to the suppliers (as no approvals are needed since their catalogs are limited to pre-approved suppliers and products with commitments and approved prices).

Procurement Analytics

The analytics solution we discussed in our last article on how OneMarket Sources Your Contracts with Insights is also integrated with the P2P solution and, since the data that flows through OneMarket is automatically categorized and clean, OneMarket can pre-configure a lot of meaningful and detailed reports out of the box. These can include change orders, client operations, missed opportunity, order activity, order detail, supplier order, tracking list, inventory, and retail reports in addition to all of the reports described in our last article. Retail reports can include billing status, capital project analysis, commitment status, project costs, freight detail, historical shipment analysis, order history, pre-paid allocation, and tax reports, among others. The existence of detailed PO, invoice, and line-item data allows for very deep analysis on spend and P2P process time. Spend, supplier spend, supplier rating, invoice throughput, and supply chain analysis are preconfigured on all available data and the out-of-the-box cubes are detailed and deep.

LogicSource‘s OneMarket is a great P2P solution for organizations that do a lot of indirect Procurement and need a simple, service-supported, solution or a solution that can be rolled out to multiple locations with limited Procurement expertise and capability. It’s definitely worth checking out if you are that kind of (mid-market) organization.

The Sourcing Innovation Source-to-Pay+ Mega Map!

Now slightly less useless than every other logo map that clogs your feeds!

1. Every vendor verified to still be operating as of 4 days ago!
Compare that to the maps that often have vendors / solutions that haven’t been in business / operating as a standalone entity in months on the day of release! (Or “best-of” lists that sometimes have vendors that haven’t existed in 4 years! the doctor has seen both — this year!)

2. Every vendor logo is clickable!
the doctor doesn’t know about you, but he finds it incredibly useless when all you get is a strange symbol with no explanation or a font so small that you would need an electron microscope to read it. So, to fix that, every logo is clickable so you can go to the site and at least figure out who the vendor is.

3. Every vendor is mapped to the closest standard category/categories!
Furthermore, every category has the standard definitions used by Sourcing Innovation and Spend Matters!
the doctor can’t make sense of random categories like “specialists” or “collaborative” or “innovative“, despises when maps follow this new age analyst/consultancy award trend and give you labels you just can’t use, and gets red in the face when two very distinct categories (like e-Sourcing and Marketplaces or Expenses and AP are merged into one). Now, the doctor will also readily admit that this means that not all vendors in a category are necessarily comparable on an apples-to-apples basis, but that was never the case anyway as most solutions in a category break down into subcategories and, for example, in Supplier Management (SXM) alone, you have a CORNED QUIP mash of solutions that could be focused on just a small subset of the (at least) ten different (primary) capabilities. (See the link on the sidebar that takes you to a post that indexes 90+ Supplier Management vendors across 10 key capabilities.)

Secure Download the PDF!  (or, use HTTP) [HTML]
(5.3M; Note that the Free Adobe Reader might choke on it; Preview on Mac or a Pro PDF application on Windows will work just fine)

You Need a Plan to Mitigate Supply Chain Risks. But You Also Need a Platform.

A recent article over on Supply & Demand Chain Executive on Navigating a Supply Chain Management Toolkit noted that with a plan in place, organizations can quickly respond to any changes and help mitigate any supply chain risks.

Which is true, but how much of the risk they can mitigate is the question.

The article, which is very good and definitely worth reading (so check out the link), noted that problems arose as a result of COVID and disruptions since because many organizations use just-in-time inventory management (which we’ve already noted should have ended by now along with seasonality). The article also noted that the problems were often exacerbated by the fact that order processes were often not documented effectively and, in general, most organizations don’t spend the time and resources to really manage their supply chain. All of this is correct, as is the observation that these challenges can be alleviated with wholly embracing the tried-and-true methods for effective supply chain management because effective processes, measurements and accountability are … key to a supply chain that works for an organization.

But, on their own, not the key. Today, you also need a platform that enables the organization to:

  • quickly detect a risk event has occurred
  • quickly analyze the impact
  • quickly initiate any pre-defined mitigation plan
  • quickly implement new decisions and processes where the mitigation plan isn’t sufficient and doesn’t exist
  • monitor the impact of the risk event and the response in near real time

Otherwise, your process could be too slow, your measurements inaccessible and/or unrecorded, and your accountability (under audit) non existent.

For example, the article indicates you should start by getting a better grip on inventory management (which is correct, no product, no business for most companies), and that involves a self-assessment, forecast accuracy review, and inventory segmentation. All correct. But that doesn’t help you when all of a sudden there’s a fire in the factory, a strike at the port, or a strait/border closing. What do you do then?

It also tells you that you should focus on better supplier relations, which is also extremely important, and focus on vetting suppliers before you onboard them and then measuring them and computing the total cost of ownership of keeping them, which is also very important as suppliers should improve over time and costs should not inch up faster than inflation. It also mentions the importance of proper strategic sourcing (matrices) to get the right products from the right suppliers. Another definite. But fails to tell you what you do when all of a sudden a key supplier can’t deliver or becomes unavailable.

The answer here is you use all of your good relationships and data to immediately identify the next best supplier. If you were splitting award, you try to shift to the other supplier (if they can handle the volume — if you were doing an 80/20 split and the 80% supplier suddenly became unavailable indefinitely, the 20% might not be able to support you, or at least not for very long, and you will have to add a new supplier to the mix. If you were doing proper sourcing, and proper supplier vetting before including them in an event, then you already have potential suppliers — the runners up from your last event. A good platform will let you immediately identify them and immediately start another sourcing event to onboard a new supplier as fast as possible.

If you have a good logistics (sourcing) platform, and your primary carrier / route becomes unavailable, you may be able to identify another carrier / route that will get you the products on time, or at least be able to accelerate an order from a secondary source of supply while you wait for the first source through a lengthier route.

The point is, while you need great processes, measurements (to indicate if something is taking too long, such as an order acknowledgement or a delivery, which can be a sign of a potential risk event materializing), and accountability (to show you made efforts to detect and mitigate risks in a reasonable time frame), you can’t measure, execute processes, or provide unquestionable audit trails of accountability without a proper platform. Never forget that. (And for help, you can see our Source-to-Pay series which helps you to identify where to start with your acquisitions and what vendors you might need to look at.)

And again, remember to read the article on Navigating a Supply Chain Management Toolkit as it will help you understand the basic processes you need to put in place.

ADAPTONE: A Dynamic Adaptable Provider Tool Of Network Enablement: Supplier Management for Utilities, Construction, O&G and other Complex Industry Management

While the doctor has never covered AdaptOne on Sourcing Innovation, he did cover them in their early days over on Spend Matters back in 2018 in a 3-Part Vendor Analysis he co-authored (and yes, his credit was lost on this one too with the Spend Matters site migration) with The Prophet (Part I, Part II, and Part III, ContentHub subscription required).

As noted in 2018, AdaptOne is is a heavily customizable SIM solution where every implementation is different, customized to the precise needs of the customer. This makes it different from its peers, which generally sell “modules” that are easily bounded and definable. Furthermore, AdaptOne’s configuration is heavily centred on supplier registration, on-boarding as well as data collection and maintenance workflows, and can support as many validations as required. This is because AdaptOne leverages a business process management (BPM) development and deployment orientation as well as having a strong business consulting capability that includes the ability to work with a customer to design the perfect registration and on-boarding workflows, no matter how complicated and sophisticated, and implement the right overall “solution” on top of it.

At the time we noted that its strengths were:

  • extreme customizability
  • deep support for compliance and diversity
  • scorecards
  • onboarding
  • back-office capabilities

And it’s weaknesses were

  • No front-end BPM
  • Limited DIY scorecard capability
  • Performance Management is primarily survey
  • No DIY API

So what’s new? In a nutshell, nothing. And. Everything. Sorry, but you’ll have to read on.

The strengths are the same, and you can now add:

  • quick configurability and implementation in their core verticals that they have a lot of experience in and know well, no matter how customized your needs are (in under 3 months they can model, and implement, multiple workflows that would make the heads spin on the Big X Consultancy implementation teams if you suggested they had less than a year)
  • deep knowledge of compliance, health and safety, and insurance requirements that they can help you check, track, and report on (esp. in North America)
  • integration to (financial) risk data providers

And it’s weaknesses are the same, not because they don’t have the answer, but because their capabilities are so complex, you need (expert) training to understand what they’ve built (or they would have to build an advanced no-code process builder and automation platform on par with Tonkean to make it usable by the average person; and a small company can only specialize in one kind of powerful platform, so they chose to specialize in deep supplier management capabilities that didn’t exist when they started)

Thus,

  • there’s no front-end BPM configuration for the average user because literally everything in the platform is configurable
  • they’ve chosen to hide the scorecard builder as scorecards are highly configurable on what they can capture, the formulas that can score them, the multi-user weightings you can build, the data you can pull in (through a custom integration) vs. survey response, etc. you can restrict sections, time at regular intervals, scale, etc. etc. etc.
  • unless you have systems that you can integrate with to pull in performance data, supplier performance has to be survey or data entry, and they don’t have an open API builder due to the ease with which a user could mess up an integration with the extent of data they can pull in and the extent to which the process can be controlled
  • as everything is configurable, it’s hard to build an API usable by an average developer that takes standard data into standard fields with standard processes without building a full no-code process builder as those are customized by client (which means you have to develop at a level of abstraction that is beyond the comfort level of most configurators)

So what is AdaptOne? In short, it’s a supplier onboarding / information management / compliance / performance management platform that can be highly customized for complex project industries like utilities/energy, construction, and oil & gas that can be customized to the exact customer organization needs, which can be quite complex when the organization has to ensure that the supplier:

  • is a valid entity that can operate in the jurisdiction(s) (of relevance)
  • adheres to the necessary health & safety standards
  • has the necessary certifications
  • has the necessary insurance
  • has the appropriate capabilities
  • provides certified products
  • can provide the appropriate information for ESG reporting
  • has verifiable diversity / minority claims
  • accepts and agrees to the organization’s terms & conditions
  • … and provides this information for every location where it is needed

And that last requirement is the kicker. If you’re doing business with a supplier in multiple jurisdictions (which, FYI, can be province/state-level in some countries), you will have different requirements with respect to the acts in force that you need to adhere to, and most platforms just collect, and associate, this information at the supplier level. And that results in either the platform just tracking the lowest common denominator of information or suppliers self-selecting out of being a service provider when asked to provide an onslaught of documentation not relevant to them (when they only want to serve the buyer in one, localized, jurisdiction). This, of course, leads to less competition, higher costs, and lower service levels for the buyer.

The onboarding part of the application is not only highly configurable, but highly flexible to allow for not just customization by buyer and supplier (based on industry, geographic area, and products/services they intend to provide), but by supplier role — as the buyer can configure multiple roles on behalf of the supplier that can be used to limit which rep (or third party acting on the supplier behalf) has access to which part(s) of the profile that they can fill in (or submit updates to), can see exactly what information was provided or changed (and just that information), and can define different roles within their organization to review, approve, and (possibly) lock it down.

As with all good Procurement applications, it maintains a complete, unalterable, filterable audit log that tracks all actions by all parties, whether or not a submission, or a change, was accepted, so you can maintain the records you need to demonstrate your organization is making best effort to verify that all suppliers are compliant with all of the regulations the organization is subject to.

Furthermore, they can also integrate with your ERP or other system of record and keep all data in sync, as well as maintain a record of the last sync and immediately notify you if the data may be out of synch with the supplier (due to an unreviewed submission) or the ERP.

The supplier profiles are among the deepest of any SXM provider out there. The only profiles that go deeper out of the box are those from Supplhi, which is another specialist SXM vendor for direct/MRO procurement (and requires equally deep profiles for their A&D, Manufacturing, and CPG clients).

And management during onboarding, (mandatory) annual compliance updates, and random updates submitted during the year (when the supplier wants to support the buyer in more jurisdictions and decides to submit the necessary information proactively, or changes their insurance, or obtains a new certification, etc.) is incredibly easy as they can build as many review and approval queues as necessary, which can operate in sequence or parallel, and be visible to (just) those who need it. No searching for a supplier, or searching by supplier state, it’s all automated for onboarding, update, and information management efficiency. It will even alert you to set up required scorecards or necessary ([semi-]annual) reviews.

Search is, of course, fully functional and is across all fields and can be filtered to any subset of interest, allowing you to quickly find any supplier, or group, of interest.

Furthermore, AdaptOne recognizes that this data is needed for mandatory reporting requirements and makes it super easy to export all of the data, or any subset, to Excel for easy import to your organization’s reporting templates. They also provide standard out-of-the-box dashboards for summarizing different supplier states, process times, diversity, diversity spend (if you integrate with your spend analytics application), insurance levels, compliant suppliers, etc. and can quickly build any dashboards and reports your organization needs during configuration.

Scorecards can be configured to capture whatever is desired, with respect to any supplier subset, review team, scoring, and weighting system, on whatever basis is desired. This is vague, but that’s because they are not limited in the platform. You can have separate scorecards for Health & Safety, Performance, Product Quality, Contractor Services, etc. or combine them into a master scorecard with separate sections filled out by separate individuals. And you can even have Subcontractor Scorecards, which can rollup to a single services scorecard, if you are using a services organization that subcontracts subsets of services (such as telcos and cable providers that will subcontract installations or energy utilities that will subcontract connection/disconnection/plant construction/commissioning services). This is not something you see often (if at all).

End-user configuration is limited to what the user generally needs to do (their basic profile, communication preferences, language and currency settings, etc.) as part of their focus on simplicity and customization by role or function (as many of these organizations are not tech companies and don’t have time to learn yet another software stack), but they can extend that for buyer organizations that are above average in terms of technical sophistication (but have found that most of their clients prefer a simple application where their users can’t mess with the processes and settings they want enforced).

However, their administration control panel, limited to their consultants or trained buyer admins, is exceedingly powerful and can configure roles and groups down to field level permissions if needed, and, once users are assigned to roles and groups, the default permissions can be overridden to the extent required. All widgets / dashboards in the application can be customized, jobs can be scheduled based on highly specific activation criteria, and all application configurations can be inspected. As needed, select admin functions are made available to the buyer, such as manual pushes/synchs to the ERP, login key generation, integration configurations (if keys, licenses, etc. need to be reset). etc.

With respect to integrations, they can integrate with your risk management data or ESG data provider, your ERP (and have integrated with the majority of standard ERPs used by their target industries), and even your I2P/AP system (and your suppliers can log into one supplier portal and immediately answer 90% of their common inquiries without ever having to call you which are typically, in order: 1. when am I getting paid 2. did you approve the invoice 3. did you get the invoice 4. did you get the document 5. did you get the quote … etc.).

The AdaptOne Matrix

All AdaptOne‘s customers also have access to the AdaptOneMATRIX supplier database that they can use for supplier discovery. With over 10 million suppliers, the database is very comprehensive and provides customers with an extensive selection of suppliers to fulfill the majority of their sourcing requirements. Search can be very detailed and results refined by company name, keyword(s), status, vendor code, target supplier groups, and certifications, among other search criteria.

The results returned will have a complete high level supplier profile that will consist of name, location, company overview, contact, website, diversity and compliance certifications, and area(s) of primary offering(s).

The platform was built over time to encapsulate the almost two decades of experience they have in supporting their mid-size (read national / small multi-national) customers in complex industries with complex supplier management requirements and make it as easy as possible for the average person involved in the process to do their job. And they have achieved that goal with distinction. the doctor would say that AdaptOne is definitely a top 3 global platform for mid-size companies in Utilities, Construction, and O&G and should definitely be on the shortlist of any of these organizations on the market for a modern supplier management solution.

4 Smart Technologies Modernizing Sourcing Strategy — Not Just Doctor Approved!

IBM recently published a great article on 4 smart technologies modernizing sourcing strategies that was great for two reasons. One, they are all technologies that will greatly improve your sourcing. We’ll explain why.

Automation

Business Process Automation (BPA, or RPA — Robotic Process Automation) can optimize sourcing workflows as well as procurement workflows. With good categorization, demand forecasting, inventory management, price intelligence, templates, strategies, situational analysis (that qualitatively and quantitatively define when a strategy should be applied), and workflow, you can automate sourcing just as much as you can automate Procurement. You can eliminate all of the tactical and focus solely on the strategic analysis and decision making.

Blockchain

If you need to record information in a manner that can be publicly accessed and verified, such as to ensure that records for traceability can be independently verified, or to publicly record ownership, blockchain is a great technology as its ultra secure. In Sourcing and Procurement, it can be used to track orders, payments, accounts, and more across global supply chains and multiple private and public parties.

Analytics

In addition to providing an organization with deep insights into their spend and (process level) performance, analytics engines and their “big data brains” provide real-time sourcing flexibility and visibility to enhance order management, inventory management, and logistics management. With proper intelligence, sourcing teams can understand and act on changes in the increasingly complex supply chain — as they happen.

AI

When deep data and analytics are paired with AI, the deep insights can improve forecasts, help identify risk, and provide suggestions for management.

And this brings us to the next great aspect of the article. Not once did it mention Gen-AI. Not once. As the doctor has been stating over and over, the classic analytics, optimization and machine learning you have been ignoring for almost two decades will do wonders for your supply chain. (Blockchain is not always necessary, but will help in the right situation.)