Earlier this week we hosted Innovation ’16 Best Practices in Spend Control – our annual conference, where industry experts provided attendees with a lot of great information to take back to their management and procurement teams.
At the event, several top experts in sourcing and procurement came together for a panel discussion. With the panelists varied backgrounds shining through it made for an interesting panel discussion. The group – David Golub the President of Golub Consulting Solutions, Dawn Tiura the CEO and President of Sourcing Industry Group and Jimmy LeFever a Research Director at PayStream Advisors – talked about what they consider the most valuable tips for sourcing and procurement success.
Here they are in no particular order:
- Education, Education, Education
This is education of yourself, your staff and top management. If we are not constantly learning we’re behind. Look to the news, conferences, category experts…maybe even twitter. Just keep learning – things are changing faster than ever before and it is imperative to know what’s new and trending. Education goes beyond industry knowledge however, you need to educate those in your organization on the sourcing process and solutions leadership endorses. Which leads to number two…
- Take a Top Down and Bottom Up Approach
Get the top executives bought in to give the directive and tell people there is a formal process in place. It’s important to communicate the significance of creating a process to evaluate spend and what sourcing process should be used. It has to be a process that everyone will follow. AND let the early adopters utilizing the tools and help spread the message with their successes.
- Develop Exceptional Communication Skills
We could probably all use a little work to perfect our communication skills. You can’t just send a PowerPoint and get buy-in. You can’t just explain a new process to all your vendors with a mass email. You need to customize your approach. Know who you are taking to and adjust your message for your audience.
- Have a Key Strategic Sourcing Expert
Assign a single person to be an objective resource to coordinate, educate, be a liaison and a cheerleader. They are the ambassador of the process to the entire organization (see everything goes back to education!). This is the person that builds momentum, shares successes and generates excitement in the sourcing process.
- Transparency, Trust and Integrity in the Process
You have to create a process that is ethical. If you can’t trust it then you will never get buy-in from internal stakeholders or suppliers. Be straight with vendors. Tell them why you are moving to an online bid process and establish the credibility of utilizing eSourcing solutions.
- Model the Right Behavior
Don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk. It’s a bit cliché, I know, but actions really do speak louder than words. We learned that it takes two years before something (a new process, for example) becomes comfortable. It’s important to model the behavior yourself and keep doing it even when it seems like it isn’t sinking in – remember it can take TWO Years!
- Better Engage suppliers
As mentioned before you’ll need to customize your approach to different vendors. They aren’t all the same and can’t be treated that way. Depending on the vendor you may have to provide them with many options. You can’t just say we are now using this eAuction tool or new Invoicing system and all invoices must be submitted electronically or die. You have to think about what the ideal situation is versus what’s likely and meet in the middle. Remember suppliers can be reluctant to change, it may help to explain the benefits – maybe it is more accurate, faster, and easier to use.
What’s the most valuable tip for success you’ve learned over the years? Let us know. We want to hear from you.
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