Continuing on with Coke’s “Four eProucrement Truths” (Part 1 here), we come to the third truth: the data must be right. Specifically, users need visibility into the correct, contracted price. They also need to understand inventory availability. Moreover, when they’re shopping and making selections, they need to know that all of the master data associated with a SKU is accurate and consistent, ranging from attributes (e.g., dimensionality) to pricing. One of the challenges Coke cited with punch-outs like Grainger is that the pricing that appears is higher than contracted pricing. Billing and accounting accuracy also matter in terms of data management.
It would be easy to dismiss these requirements as hard to achieve with an eProcurement toolset without a broader master data management deployment spanning supplier and catalog data (and internal supplier master, item-level spend analysis and related information). There’s certainly some truth to this statement. But a strong enabling P2P capability, including eProcurement and e-invoicing (and transactional connectivity between buyers and suppliers) can go a long way to provide clean, accurate, and transparent data throughout the indirect buying lifecycle.
Good data in and of itself is of limited importance for a frontline purchasing system if adoption is limited. This brings us to Coke’s fourth truth: “users must want to use they system.” In other words, compliance must be easier than non-compliance (what a novel thought!). “If employees have to wait to find what they’re looking for, they will find another way to procure it!” says Patrick Hopkins (Coke’s Procurement Director). This brings us to Hopkins’ “binary rule”: He wants “an employee to a search for materials in the catalog and find the exact thing they’re looking for with one search, with 100% confidence.”
Further, in Coke’s view, the process must be easy, intuitive, fast, mobile, pleasant, and, most important of all, successful. A user must be able to walk up to a system that is easier to use than the alternative, from simply calling an existing vendor to a maverick purchase from a non-approved supplier’s website. Ultimately, Patrick sums it up best when he says an integrated P2P experience must be “easier than a p-card.”
In other words, don’t simply issue mandates. Don’t slap wrists. Don’t guilt people. Cater to the lazy side of transactional buying and make the alternative (i.e., a state of non-compliance) that much more work for the typical user!
Stay tuned … we have more from Coupa INSPIRE and Coke’s keynote.