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Mmm…Canned Meat: Sourcing Stories from Sample Testing Land

Posted by Jason Heffelfinger on Sep 29, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Before or After

When Intesource completes sourcing events for our customers, we try to encourage them not to stray too far from the normal process they use today.  We still want them to participate in collecting the information internally to ensure we are going out to market with the most up-to-date information available.  That way, we do not have a “garbage-in, garbage-out” result.

When sourcing items from either new sources of supply or going out to market on a new product offering, it is very important to require the supplier community to provide samples.  Every organization needs to continue to complete their due diligence no matter the approach to sourcing, and sampling a suppliers product offerings is absolutely key to a positive outcome.

Deciding when to review samples can be a bit of a balancing act.  Most of our customers want to know when the bidding starts, that everyone participating can supply them the exact items being requested.  This is completely understandable.  However, this can also be a tall order when there are scores of suppliers for the category being bid.  The last thing you want to do is impact your stakeholders’ already very busy day by having them sift through mountains of samples.  We are trying to make the sourcing process easier through process and technology, not more cumbersome.  So, making cuts of suppliers who do not pass the basic requirements collected through a request for information (RFI) questionnaire is a good way to start thinning the herd. 

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Topics: e-Sourcing Best Practices, About e-Sourcing

7 Indispensable Tips for Procurement Success we learned from the Experts

Posted by Michelle Fombelle on Sep 23, 2016 8:30:00 AM

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:

  1. 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…

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Topics: Intesource Events, e-Sourcing Best Practices, Innovation Conference

Sourcing Strategies for Sustained Success

Posted by Kelly Deacon on Sep 2, 2016 8:30:00 AM

This post originally appeared in March of 2015 after Innovation '15, our annual user conference and procurement best practices pow wow. 

Now, as we inch closer toward our Innovation '16 gathering, attendees can get a taste of what they have to look forward to. {HINT: It's not too late to register!)

Without further ado!

We just wrapped up Innovation 2015, our annual sourcing best practices conference. There were a ton of terrific business leaders in attendance, including executives from top companies such as Rite Aid, Wegmans, The Container Store and Meijer, along with industry thought leaders from The Nielson Group, Spend Matters, The Ferrari Consulting & Research Group and Lunney Advisory Group

A lot of insights were uncovered and shared at Innovation. For all the details, the conference recap is a must-read! In the meantime, here are some highlights from the conference focused on the right strategies for success.

The global supply chain is being impacted by a variety of factors, and it’s up to procurement leaders to not only ensure their organizations are aware of these forces, but also leverage them to create positive business outcomes.  Which trends should procurement and sourcing executives pay attention to?

  • Today’s consumers are more empowered than ever, demanding quality, responsibly-sourced products and niche options, which is forcing organizations to change how they manufacture, source, market and sell goods and services, since catering to these demands require extensive visibility into the supply network.
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Topics: e-Sourcing Best Practices, e-Sourcing Strategy, Innovation Conference

Optimizing eSourcing Through Adoption in 10 Steps

Posted by Kelly Deacon on Jul 14, 2016 8:30:00 AM

First off, let's all agree that eSourcing is unparalleled in its ability to return amazing ROI, as evidenced by the fact that the vast majority of large companies have eSourcing tools.

But just because an organization has an eSourcing tool doesn't mean they're using it to its fullest potential. And many aren't. Adoption issues plague eSourcing programs, but the organizations that are able to overcome these challenges reap huge rewards.

So what's coming between companies and eSourcing success? In the simplest of terms it comes down to one thing - fear of change.

How do you overcome fear of change? With information, education, and by providing proof and reassurance along the way that this uncomfortable period of 'newness' will all be worth it in the end.

When evaluating an eSourcing solution the implementation and management of the program should be top of mind - right along with feature functionality. 

The 10 program management essentials outlined below cover both the strategic and tactical ways to build adoption by making the process clear, repeatable, and overall less intimidating. 

  1. Category Discovery: Review all areas of spend to determine the best opportunities for eSourcing savings. Repeat this process annually.
  2. Implementation and Project Plan: Create a detailed blueprint outlining key personnel, program goals, and a plan of attack for achieving those goals.
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Topics: e-Sourcing Best Practices, e-Sourcing Strategy

4 Ways Sourcing Drives Business Value

Posted by Kelly Deacon on Jun 24, 2016 8:30:00 AM

"Smart sourcing" is not just for procurement. The approach can generate value that positively impacts every corner of the organization. From sales and finance to operations and marketing, sourcing can help every department grow and reach their goals.

Stakeholders without a procurement background may not fully understand at first how valuable sourcing can be, but its role in areas like finance, risk management, customer satisfaction and brand reputation can reap tremendous rewards when implemented throughout the entire business. Which areas have the greatest potential?

Finance: the foundation for the future

Sourcing is an incredibly effective way to improve your organization’s bottom line. Think more savings, new revenue and unlocked working capital. By taking suppliers to auction on a regular basis, teams secure fair pricing, and can often end up getting a better deal on key supply sources. It seems simple: by driving costs down, profitability goes up, but these benefits must be sustained, measured and optimized over time in order to see real financial gains.

Key metrics to track include total cost of ownership (TCO), cost avoidance and company valuation. Sourcing complex categories like OpEx and CapEx, focusing on TCO, and understanding how these purchases truly impact the bottom line helps drive stronger, more sustainable results. Ultimately, this financial impact will shape the growth and direction of the organization.

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Topics: Motivational, e-Sourcing Best Practices

Sourcing: The Secret for Driving Extra Business Value

Posted by Brian Miller on May 12, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Sourcing's_Business_ValueSmart sourcing is not just for procurement. The approach can generate value that positively impacts every corner of the organization. From sales and finance to operations and marketing, sourcing can help every department grow and reach their goals.

Stakeholders without a procurement background may not fully understand at first how valuable sourcing can be, but its role in areas like finance, risk management, customer satisfaction and brand reputation can reap tremendous rewards when implemented throughout the entire business. Which areas have the greatest potential?

Finance: the foundation for the future

Sourcing is an incredibly effective way to improve your organization’s bottom line. Think more savings, new revenue and unlocked working capital. By taking suppliers to auction on a regular basis, teams secure fair pricing, and can often end up getting a better deal on key supply sources. It seems simple: by driving costs down, profitability goes up, but these benefits must be sustained, measured and optimized over time in order to see real financial gains.

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Topics: Motivational, e-Sourcing Best Practices

Making Sourcing a Strategic Supply Chain Asset

Posted by Kelly Deacon on Apr 29, 2016 7:30:00 AM

Companies that have mastered management of their supply chain have a distinct advantage over the competition. Just a 1-2% decrease in cost has a material bottom-line impact. So whether your organization falls into the mastery category, room for improvement, or somewhere in between - standing still is the surest way to fall behind the competition.

Sourcing, specifically, can create a significant advantage when companies think about leveraging the function as a strategic asset, rather than just a tactical means for securing savings.

Examples include:  

  • Improving Customer Satisfaction with unique and innovative new products, supporting the creation of an exceptional customer experience, or passing on savings
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Topics: Motivational, e-Sourcing Best Practices, e-Sourcing Strategy

When Your Sourcing Program Falls Short of Expectations

Posted by Kelly Deacon on Apr 21, 2016 8:00:00 AM

You’d be right to say that eSourcing tools are everywhere these days. And many are quite good. eSourcing technologies, specifically eAuction tools, have quickly gained popularity due to their incredibly effective ability to lower a company’s cost of goods and services, and the subsequent positive impact to the bottom line.

But as quickly as organizations brought eSourcing tools in-house, significant challenges arose. The implementation of eSourcing with the self-serve platform has failed to live up to the lofty promises of providers for three main reasons:

  1. Lack of executive support (more on this here and here)
  2. Attempting to apply a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach across all categories
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Topics: e-Sourcing Best Practices, e-Sourcing Successes, About e-Sourcing

eSourcing – Building a Relationship

Posted by Julie Watson on Apr 7, 2016 8:01:10 AM

Benefits of Buyers and their eSourcing provider working together

Sourcing Managed Services RelationshipsAre you satisfied with your current eSourcing process?  Do you feel you are getting the most from the relationship with your eSourcing provider? 

As most think, the benefit of using an eSourcing provider is to get quality goods at a competitive rate. However, there can be (and we would argue – should be) more to the working relationship between buyers and their eSourcing provider.   

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Topics: e-Sourcing Best Practices, e-Sourcing Strategy, About e-Sourcing

When it comes to cost, go the extra mile

Posted by Lindsay Bernacchi on Mar 18, 2016 8:00:00 AM

As a sourcing professional, getting the lowest possible price from your suppliers is always your main objective. Sure, you also want quality, high service level and a general overall value BUT you want all that along with the lowest possible cost to your organization. 

The best way to achieve this is to truly understand your supplier’s cost.  Bob Olney, President of ETM Manufacturing discusses how important this concept is in his article “Back to Basics: Why Understanding Supplier Costs Should Be a Best Practice

According to Olney, in addition to the obvious material costs, factors to consider are:

  1. Labor
  2. Service
  3. Overhead
  4. Supplier profit
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Topics: Motivational, e-Sourcing Best Practices