Supplier Discovery via Networks/Marketplaces Must Correctly Fit In Sourcing Processes (Part 1)

I received a note last week from a company that has been offered online access to a supplier marketplace via their e-sourcing tool. I'll blind the details to protect the innocent (including the vendor involved), but the experience is an important one as companies consider using supplier networks and marketplaces as a component of their strategic sourcing process to "discover" and ultimately invite and qualify new suppliers into their sourcing events. The modified note follows:

"My company is an XYZ customer and I'm not seeing benefits from the buyer, or supplier side to [a supplier discovery/search process] where postings are automatically sent to suppliers regardless of the nature of the opportunity i.e. the third stage in a sourcing project, or an eAuction where only known preferred providers would stand a chance of winning. Suppliers do get these, and respond to them only to be disappointed by our reply, that we are mid-way thru a project and aren't looking for new suppliers in this initiative."

This one user's experience -- along with others like it -- should help vendors redesign how and when incorporate supplier discovery tools into sourcing process. Without question, the promise of leveraging supplier networks and marketplaces in the supplier discovery process as part of an e-sourcing effort to locate, identify and quality new suppliers brings significant promise. But the misapplication of when to include suppliers in automated (or suggested steps) benefits no one, sourcing managers and suppliers included.

-- Jason Busch

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