On Strategic Sourcing, British Food and Today’s Webinar

I recently came across a BBC article on why there aren’t more British foods in British supermarkets. In other words, why aren’t they using British suppliers? The article mentioned a recent survey of 1,700 British shoppers, three-quarters of whom said they try to buy British food and drink whenever possible.

Webinar today: Sourcing, Contract and Supplier Management — Predictions and 2017 Tech Trends

Supermarket chains are, of course, caught between their customers’ patriotic preferences and how much that will cost. Does anyone remember the amusing Tesco episode from last year? The supermarket chain was accused of making up farms with British-sounding names so that harried shoppers might overlook the “produce of Morocco” bit and assume their strawberries came from the probably bucolic and definitely nonexistent Rosedene Farms.

Alas, the same survey found that not even one in three was willing to pay more for locally sourced food. So much for all of that. Sourcing ultimately comes down to cost.

An Evergreen Topic

Looking back at the last month, one of Spend Matters’ most popular posts on sourcing was not a post at all, but rather a research paper: our Sourcing, Contracting and Supplier Management Landscape Definition and Overview. True to its name, the paper looked at the four distinct and yet often overlapping areas of spend/supply analytics, strategic sourcing, supplier management and contract management, providing an introduction to each.

But there’s so much more to say about each area, of course. Take strategic sourcing, for example. Also known as e-sourcing, strategic sourcing technologies “enable companies to define and implement specified tendering/sourcing processes across simple and complex categories alike, starting with strategy development and ending with decisions,” as our analysts Jason Busch, Michael Lamoureux and Pierre Mitchell wrote in the landscape report.

Base-level supplier management, RFI/RFP/RFX creation, reverse auctions, bid response management, optimization, supplier collaboration (within a negotiation), template/knowledge management and category management are all underlying components of these technologies.

Where is Strategic Sourcing Going?

OK, we got the overview. But what do we know about where the strategic sourcing market is going? What does its near future look like, and what are the current trends?

From the customer end, ease of use is a big priority in certain selections. Customers are continuing to use multiple solutions, contrary to the “one vendor” myth. And supplier management is becoming an important consideration of sourcing technologies. In some cases, organizations are even merging the two cases.

As for trends from the technology end, user interfaces are getting better and better — passing the “walk up and use” test for intuitiveness. Although strategic sourcing is seen as an area with less innovation than some other procurement technologies, it is ripe for disruption, and there is innovation going on at the edges of the market (direct materials, total cost modeling, multi-tier demand aggregation, etc.).

There are more customer and technology trends to look at for strategic sourcing, of course, not to mention the three other areas: spend/supply analytics, supplier management and contract management. The above is a snippet of what Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch will be discussing on today’s webinar, Sourcing, Contract and Supplier Management: Predictions and 2017 Tech Trends, at 1 p.m. CST. If you want to stay on top of all the latest technological advancements and make the smartest investments for procurement analytics, sourcing, contracting or supplier management efficiencies, this is a webinar not to miss.

But in case you were left wondering what Busch’s predictions for strategic sourcing are, here’s a quick preview from the presentation:

  • Suites will get better and better. Analytics and supplier management will become inseparable from core sourcing activities.
  • Real strategic and tactical decision guidance (via machine learning and artificial intelligence) will become more common.
  • Market/category/supplier intelligence will continue to get wrapped around solutions.

Register for the webinar and bring your questions! Just nothing about Moroccan strawberries, please.

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