4 Ways Agile Sourcing Can Lead Enterprises to Success
Rapidly changing business and market conditions can send the supply chain into a tailspin and turn managing it effectively into a nightmare task. More and more companies – including premier oil and gas E&P company, Anadarko – are leveraging sourcing to address this. The results are compelling; not only does agile sourcing yield an agile supply chain, but it also drives bottom-line benefits.
To be truly agile, sourcing processes need to tick a few boxes: They must be adaptable to changing business and market conditions, scalable for growth, automated for efficiency, transparent to stakeholders, enabled by technology, and optimized through analytics.
“The end goal of this agile process is really to respond quickly, capitalize on emerging market opportunities, and use our sourcing process to optimize outcomes for the business,” Aaron Rubinstein, Manager of Shared Services and Technology, and Global Supply Chain at Anadarko explained in a recent Institute of Supply Management webinar. Speaking from his own experiences with agile sourcing at Anadarko, he noted, “We laid out a business case for eSourcing in terms of how it helps us achieve those end goals. It really boils down to four key areas: building a knowledge base, gaining efficiencies, improving transparency, and then being able to leverage analytics in our process.”
As Rubinstein points out, there are a few key ways to create sourcing processes that drive bottom-line results for the entire business. Let’s take a closer look:
Build a Sourcing Knowledge Base
It’s time to share the sourcing knowledge. Not only does this effectively pool resources, but it also yields a variety of practical efficiencies. A central sourcing knowledge base mitigates the effects of employee attrition and enables smoother staff rotations throughout a sourcing cycle’s lifetime. As procurement data is collected into a single source, it can also facilitate knowledge sharing across organizational silos and standardize sourcing best-practices — both highly impactful elements of sourcing strategy that may have been previously overlooked.
If you want to rapidly drop savings to your bottom line, it’s time to streamline your sourcing efforts. Start by implementing technology that replaces manual tasks with automated processes. Look for features that allow for expedited event creation through templates, streamlined communication through real-time chat features, and automated compilation of bid responses. You’ll be bowled over by the time and money you can save when you have these benefit at your fingertips.
Transparency can be transformative — and you might be surprised by how much it can impact sourcing results. When vendors have a crystal clear understanding of a project’s timelines and specific requirements, they can come to the table with their best offers — which saves you time and money in the long run. Similarly, when internal stakeholders have an overarching view of what the sourcing project allows, they can better prioritize and make more informed decisions throughout the entire process.
Sourcing is inherently disparate; it manages multiple projects across multiple departments across the organization. Data is what connects those dots. Leverage analytics to undercover impressive insights around pricing trends, market dynamics, and sourcing successes. By listening to the story that data tells, sourcing teams can more effectively drive overall sourcing strategies.
Strategic sourcing is an area with massive potential for any enterprise. As a recent report from Harvard Business Review in partnership with Scout RFP notes, it plays a wide-ranging and highly influential role in the enterprise’s effort to address business challenges, build strategic partnerships, and maximize opportunities. Enterprises that want to take advantage of this potential should start by focusing on agile sourcing processes and the enterprise-wide benefits will follow.
Stan Garber is President at Scout RFP, where he sets the marketing and growth strategy.
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