BravoSolution “Leveraging Supplier Innovation” Webinar – Next One on Source-to-Pay Coming Soon

On Tuesday, we listened in to the first of this year’s BravoSolution Real World Procurement webinars. Professor Robert Handfield, co-author of one of the best procurement books of recent years amongst other achievements, led the session, titled "Leveraging Supplier Innovation".

Supplier-led innovation is probably the most important source of new ideas and top-line growth for a large proportion of firms today.  Handfield drew on some serious research to identify future supply chain trends – no real surprises, as firms want to meet customer expectations, be effective in the networked economy and respond to cost pressure.

But he said procurement has not in most cases played a strong enough role in driving innovation - we have for instance a key role to play in identifying which suppliers can really help us improve performance. The answer is often smaller firms, so collaboration is not just about working with the biggest suppliers.

The evidence is also that CPOs only last 3.4 years on average in their jobs! This is perhaps because of the short-term focus on cost reduction – innovation requires a different process, it is harder work (but maybe can lead to a longer life for CPOs!) To be successful, procurement needs to adopt new tools and think about how to truly create value: cost reduction should not be the primary focus.

Handfield then got into some direct and practical ideas and advice for driving innovation. We won’t go through them all here, but there was a good combination of pragmatism and theory in his remarks, we thought.

For instance, he talked about how we can actually identify the best potential suppliers for innovation? As we said, it is not just going to be the biggest on our spend list … he also used some real-life examples from major firms like Intel, which was interesting. The polls run during the event were illuminating too – 60% of delegates don’t measure innovation in any way. (I’m probably surprised it isn’t higher to be honest …)

Anyway, we’ve got a real challenge in procurement over the next few years. The risk environment seems to be getting more challenging; cost and inflationary pressures are likely to grow again, we suspect and yet organisations are certainly looking for innovation from suppliers more than ever before. Procurement will need to step up to those multiple challenges to thrive, so if that innovation strand or priority is significant for you, it’s well worth 40 minutes to check out the webinar – you can do that here.

And the next in the BravoSolution webinar series is me, Peter Smith, on the 28th February with “Is An Integrated Source to Pay Solution Right For You?”  That will be 20 minutes of concentrated insight plus a chance to ask all those difficult questions about technology - source to pay, best of breed, legacy ERP, abacus or slide rule?  You can register here.

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