One of the central elements of Patrick Hopkins’ (Procurement Director, Coke) presentation this morning was what he described as the “four eProcurement truths” at Coke. Coke used these to help determine the right P2P solution for their needs, and they were in part a deciding factor in selecting Coupa over SAP (and others). These “truths” are relative straightforward, but as with any type of distilled procurement strategy, the spend devil is always in the details! Patrick’s four truths are:
- The product must be in the catalog
- Users must be able to find what they need
- The data must be right
- Users must want to use the system
Patrick suggests that internally hosted catalogs deliver, in his view, a preferred model to managing content (instead of punch-out or website search/crawling capability). He believes that internal catalogs deliver a faster response time and help share the burden between suppliers and customers without putting the entire onus and responsibility on vendors.
Beyond catalogs, Patrick hammered his second point home in material detail: users must be able to find what they need. In his words, this demands:
- An intuitive, uncomplicated, and simple process
- Master data excellence in accuracy, consistency, and clarity
- Fast response time
Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges we observe in eProcurement deployments is the exact opposite: users can’t find what they’re looking for.
In fact, as we note in the Spend Matters research brief, A P2P Implementation Guide: Avoid the "Dumb Ways to Die:
“the primary reason for such poor adoption is that all too frequently, companies forget that ‘preferred supply’ is not just based on SKU catalogs … items may already be in stock somewhere within the company, or there might be an equivalent substitute. Preferred items might also be outside of a catalog. For example, they might require a punch-out to a configurator hosted at the supplier website.”
Further, “then there is the case of services where tabular item catalogs aren’t as appropriate (there are many different ways to try to poorly implement even rate-based services into a product- oriented catalog structure). There will likely be a contingent labor requirement (which might be owned by procurement, HR, and/or shared services) supported by a services procurement VMS platform either overseen by an internal team or an external managed services provider (MSP) separate from the ERP and eProcurement environment.”
In other words, enabling users to find what they need is often significantly easier said than done!