As procurement organizations design tools and models to improve the process of supply management, they begin to create more idealized systems that can actually be implemented, bridging the gap between visionary “clean sheet” design and small, incremental redesign efforts relegated to narrow process silos. Yet there’s a more subtle and powerful effect in this effort. By focusing on constantly improving the design of the many inbound value chains in the enterprise, procurement begins to elevate its role beyond just strong, hands-on execution in delivering cost savings, but also towards a leadership position in intelligent design, transformation and enablement. These three attributes can seem like high-level words, but they’re important.
In the world of quality management, even well-designed products can only be manufactured by equally well-designed processes that are not just controlled but also capable. Such a process capability for manufactured items is formally engineered by a “manufacturing engineering” function that works collaboratively with design engineering on one side and operations on the other. So, it stands to reason that a procurement process for purchased items (and services) should similarly be engineered with upstream internal partners who specify the design and downstream with those involved with execution. This process of the design of procurement (i.e., the process of how to best engage external suppliers to maximize value) should be collaborative too.
ISM Accelerates Into Indianapolis — Examining Content Tracks at the 2016 Annual Event and the Brewing Knowledge Battle
Over the past two days, five members of the Spend Matters team descended on Indianapolis for the 2016 ISM Annual Conference. We (Jason Busch and Pierre Mitchell) are presenting in various sessions throughout the 3-day event and our team is catching the general vibe of the largest procurement event (roughly 2,500 people this year) in North America, and we’ve been impressed with the track design and much of the content in the sessions we’ve sat in on this year.
In previous installments of this series, we talked about how good design applies not only to a product (or service) or the supply chain that produces it but also the design of the procurement operating model that is the architecture of the supply management services delivered in a procurement organization. In that design, we talked a little bit about reducing trade-offs between the diverse requirements and objectives of the many stakeholders, and the constraints placed on a solution that optimizes everyone’s needs. To do this, we should be fairly precise around the terms requirements, objectives, constraints and optimization. If you might notice, these are terms familiar in the parlance of bid optimization in strategic sourcing. So, let’s explore the learnings from that domain and apply them to designing an optimal procurement organization rather than an optimal sourcing event.
Like most folks, I like watching fun videos that really highlight a pain point in our business lives. The conference call one here is the perfect example. And this procurement video of negotiating a dentist appointment is a classic. In the P2P world though, Coupa just did one of the best I’ve ever seen.
Raja Hammoud, Coupa’s vice president of product management, kicked off the second day of Coupa Inspire with a morning keynote centered on the value of a suite approach to procurement technology. The core of her overall message centered on how Coupa is focused on the intersections of modules, or what she termed “suite synergy.” Raja also shared some high-level elements of Coupa Release 15, which is generally available today
I typically leave technology conference write-ups to my esteemed colleague Jason Busch, but I thought I’d chime in on some of my takeaways from the 2016 Coupa Inspire conference. Coupa has wisely pivoted from its old slogan of “savings as a service” to a broader “value as a service” model. If Coupa is really going to align itself to procurement and help procurement alignment to the business, then it does indeed need to focus on creating value beyond cost savings.
In our previous installment of this series, we looked at design approaches for using software to help digitize procurement and the supply chain. But technology is only one aspect of a broader procurement operating model (or “service delivery model” if you prefer) that also includes process design, organization design, outsourcing, performance measurement, talent management and knowledge management, which is basically a combination of talent management and specialized automation. These have impacts on each other and can’t be designed in isolation. This area can seem abstract, so we’ll use a specific process area (sourcing) and some relevant examples to illustrate how a holistic design approach is important.
It’s official: The planned merger of Staples and Office Depot is not going to happen. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) argued that there was "reasonable probability" that the merger would "substantially impair competition. Staples will not appeal the case and will have to pay Office Depot a $250 million breakup fee. The planned marriage has been left at the altar of Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s gavel, as Sullivan upheld the FTC lawsuit blocking the planned merger announced last year.
Category management is about segmenting supply markets to optimally formulate sourcing and supplier management processes to drive savings and other financial rewards. But what about managing the other side of reward — risk? Well, category management can do that too, and to illustrate this, consider the Kraljic Matrix, circa 1983, which plots supply categories against two dimensions: supply impact and supply complexity.
In our last installment of this series, we spelled out in great detail some the fundamental software “architectural” (aka design) changes that are happening with modern cloud-based software that is absorbing the emerging practices in B2C-focused software and services. But we didn’t spell out the benefits of such a componentized, platform-based architecture that uses true user-centered design principles that is also tailored to meeting the broader design requirements of the department, business unit, supply chain and enterprise. The problem is that as you broaden the scope, the more design conflicts arise, as design goals from different user groups conflict. But if you do it right, you’ll be able to reduce trade-offs and be able to more easily “mix and match” lower-level solution components and provision more flexible solutions
Supply chain risk management (SCRM) is becoming a top priority in procurement, as organizations lose millions because of cost volatility, supply disruption, non-compliance fines and incidents that cause damage to the organizational brand and reputation. Bribes to shady government officials, salmonella in the spinach and forced labor in the supply chain can all result in brand-damaging headlines that can cost an organization tens of millions in sales and hundred of millions in brand damage. And while reputation may only be important for name brands, cost volatility and supply disruption affect all manufacturers.