The Temptation of Quick Wins

Spend Matters welcomes back Bob Rudzki, a Spend Matters columnist.

Not surprisingly, a lot of supply management professionals are under extreme pressure to deliver "quick wins" for their companies in the current business environment.

It can certainly be very tempting to shorten your time horizon and focus your team's attention on ideas that have potential for quick results; these are the infamous "quick wins" that we hear about constantly. Most supply management professionals recognize that "quick wins" typically return only a portion of what can be achieved with a strong strategic sourcing process, yet they feel compelled to respond to pressure from above.

So how do you deal with the challenge? How do you do what is right for your company's future without putting yourself at risk?

In our experience, a credible and effective approach is to build a hybrid plan comprised of both quick wins and strategic projects. The quick wins generate the immediate results that your management might be looking for, while buying time for the strategic projects to be done properly. The quick wins also help to fund the strategic projects that clearly offer the best long-term, sustainable value to your company.

It has been said that no rational senior executive will consciously impede projects that have clear, strategic value. If that's the case, make it easy for your executives to support you. Lay out a hybrid plan of specific projects in two categories: Quick Wins and Strategic Initiatives. Show your best guess regarding the timing expectations for the results. To say it another way: lay it out like a business case -- most senior executives respond well to ROIs.

Robert A. Rudzki Spend Matters considers Bob Rudzki one of the best individuals at articulating and driving procurement impact into finance organizations and overall P&Ls. We'd like to thank him for his continued contributions.

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