Supply Chain and Risk Management: Learning to Piggyback to Get Budget

One of the ideas I suggested as part of my “what’s next” presentation last Friday at ISM’s Risk Conference in Chicago was the importance of “piggybacking on other initiatives and budgets (e.g., Conflict Minerals) to build integrated systems.” I suggested during the talk that many of the same solutions we use across the supplier management and spend/supplier analytics – not to mention sourcing and supply chain areas – are also extensible to supply chain risk initiatives.

I noted that the same solutions that engage with external parties to ensure that they have understood and accepted requirements such as conflict minerals – plus counter-signed company policies – can work for internal users at all levels to support a range of supplier and supply chain risk management initiatives. These integrated approaches can help procurement and supply chain risk teams disseminate information and policy documents, capture understanding via surveys, document sign-offs – and much more.

But as importantly, an integrated approach can help build bridges across different information silos (often responsible for increasing risk themselves!) while also leveraging other budgets in the business to fund risk initiatives focused on capturing single or multiple tiers of supplier information. To this point, the advantages of integrated approaches that can build on each other are about savings, master data standardization, and building alignment both internally (e.g., corporate, legal, finance, business units, R&D, engineering, etc.) and externally (suppliers, partners, customers, etc.)

So if you can’t get budget independently for supply chain risk technology implementations – and for that matter, even if you can – learn to piggyback on other programs. The sum will be greater than the individual parts!

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