Over on Supply Chain Management Review, AT Kearney's Carrie Ericson and Joe Raudabaugh have penned a piece that examines some of the hurdles that companies need to overcome to execute sourcing projects quickly and effectively. Incidentally, when I first saw the piece, I was not aware that Carrie had left Ariba for AT Kearney (congrats, Carrie, on the new gig). Since I don't believe in Cliff Notes, I won't give away all of the nuggets of knowledge that both have to share on the subject -- it's worth reading for yourself -- but I will say that I agree with much of what both have to say. Namely, that insufficient and/or inaccurate data, poor process definition and knowledge, insufficient resources, and a lack of corporate culture for sourcing all contribute to hurdles that procurement most overcome to achieve sourcing returns.
Perhaps most importantly, I would agree and posit that data -- or a lack of access to high quality, complete, frequently update, and accurate information -- is the number one inhibiter to results. Or, as they put it specifically, what's needed is "visibility into level three and four data (e.g. line item, location, user, technical specification), organized in a coding structure that facilitates sourcing category roll-ups. Robust analytic capability is critical to prioritizing and managing the sourcing pipeline and process constituents." Certainly a simplification of the spend analysis process, but a good synopsis nonetheless. As an aside, I have heard through the grapevine Forrester will soon be releasing a new report looking at spend visibility/analysis providers. Let's hope they do the topic justice.
- Jason Busch