Sourcing RFP – 行ってきます (Itte-Kimasu)!

Now that I have been immersed in the sourcing solution marketplace for the past couple of months (see links below), I thought I’d give you an idea of what I’ve learned so far.

It began with Jason suggesting that I write a ‘bon voyage” letter before heading to Rome with the family, a trip inspired by the Busch family’s own trip to Italy last year.  I’ll label it an “itte-kimasu” note instead. It is the standard Japanese departure greeting, combining “iku” (go) and “kuru” (come). The rough translation is “I’m going but I’ll come back soon.”

Same with the sourcing RFP. I’ll be gone for a couple of weeks (back on June 21) but will keep thinking of the past several weeks’ intense demo sessions and of course type up my towering stack of notes. To give you an idea, I have participated in hour-and-a-half, two-hour sessions with over 20 companies so far, taking screenshots and writing comments along the way. There is still so much to digest.

My main impression is that the industry has made exciting progress. There’s a great range of products out there. Prospective sourcing solution buyers have a wonderful smorgasbord of choices to choose from – or even combine since several offerings are quite complementary with other solution investments.

We have looked at just about everybody in the sourcing space – from the ERP players with their end-to-end suites to bigger names with full source-to-pay suites – with some exciting recent entrants from overseas that have built up an impressive range of capabilities and clients. We have reviewed the high-end optimization power-lifters, as well as a few bantam weight but still highly efficient sourcing point solutions. Other providers are delivering well-oiled direct materials sourcing machines to satisfy the needs of our inner engineers. To summarize, there are worthwhile solutions out there for all buyers and organizations regardless of size, vertical, budget or specific needs.

We haven’t just looked at the solutions. The proof is in the pudding, i.e., how does the offering perform once it is in the customer’s hands? Reference calls with actual users are critical for assessing how well providers and their solutions really perform. While I’ve been digging under the hood of the providers, Jason has been busy calling on references and Pierre has pontificated over best processes, definitions and evaluation methodology. What comes out of the Spend Matters kitchen will be interesting.

Our discoveries will not be delivered in a 100-page binder with a single graph showing you the ‘best’ provider out there. No, we are breaking this down into focused areas that line up the providers with their respective sweet spot audiences. I am passing my findings in this area to Jason and Pierre for them to polish further. The findings will be released gradually over the summer, most likely starting with the direct materials focused providers. You can expect our first installation soon.



For earlier coverage on RFPs:

Why Set Yourself Up to Fail – Don’t Use Traditional Software Solution RFPs (Part 1)

Why Set Yourself Up to Fail – Don’t Use Traditional Software Solution RFPs (Part 2)

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