Over on European Leaders, Gautam Singh penned a guest piece earlier this fall about the need for procurement organizations to get more serious about proactively gathering, managing, and analyzing supply market intelligence. I agree with Gautam that we face a double challenge in building our knowledge base on supply markets given that "we now have fewer procurement professionals managing more spend categories than ever before" while at the same time "our supply markets have become more dynamic and complex as new suppliers emerge from all parts of the globe, trade barriers come down and global supply chains encourage more complex solutions."
What's the solution, you ask? I believe that looking at supply market intelligence as a "check the box item" is a waste of time. Either procurement places value on what goes on in supply markets outside its four walls regarding suppliers, category trends, regional economics, trade information, etc., putting it front and center as a core component of its overall Spend Management program, or forever annexes it to a low-level analyst-type function. Indeed, what's needed is a culture of insight and supply market knowledge that should flow across the entire function, intersecting such areas as supply risk management, sourcing strategy development, and overall procurement support of global business initiatives.