Can we have too much information? (Sourcing, suppliers or skiing!)

There’s a general view that Supplier Information is a good thing.  Supplier Information Management is a booming sector within the solutions market, and it’s easier than ever to find out more about suppliers and potential suppliers. That’s both from their own websites, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and so on; form blogs, industry websites; and from specialist software and service providers.

We can get their financial information from Dun & Bradstreet, find out about their accreditations from Achilles or Aravo; we can check out their diversity status and    We are even getting into information coming from other customers – not just the usual references and    but quantitative data from the likes of SAP’s Infonet product.

Isn’t it great? Well... yes, but there is a negative side to this.

When I booked my first skiing holiday, I had a couple of hard-copy brochures to look at. Then I’d phone the firm, see what was available, and if I was lucky, we might have t a choice of two or three options.

Last weekend, I spent hours getting absolutely nowhere. Iglu, Inghams, Crystal websites. Each with thousands of options. Do the search on dates, price range, star rating etc. 85 properties and 361 options. So I narrow it down a bit – wi-fi is an essential obviously. But then, when I get to something that looks promising, the other information sources come into it. Let’s just check this out on Trip Adviser.  this hotel only comes 25th out of 40 in its resort? Why? The food doesn’t get very good reviews – well that’s no good, we like our dinner after a hard (or not so hard) day on the slopes.

Another one looks good but I’ve used Google maps and found it is a good 1000 metres from the nearest lift. Too far to walk with boots and skis. How reliable are the ski buses then ? Let’s have a look at a ski website with user comments. Ski bus “unreliable” says James from Exeter.

Perhaps we should go back to the Dolomites where I first strapped planks to my feet many years ago. But the snow record there isn’t so good. How is it looking this year so far? Check out a weather website. Not bad, but we’re not going for a while yet – what’s the historical snow cover later in the season in Colfosco?

Back to square one. What’s more important – a pool in the hotel, or proximity to the lifts? Does “good for families” mean we’ll be sharing the place with hordes of screaming toddlers? Mumsnet like this hotel – rule that out. Can I cope with a 5 hour bus transfer? Or maybe we’ll arrange the hotel and flight ourselves and use the train for the airport transfer? Let’s do some searches on Expedia then.

I almost long for those first few holidays when we got the Small World Chalet brochure and the decision was simple - Chalet Astoria in Selva or Chalet Mercury in Corvara?

Are procurement managers getting the same feeling at all, I wonder? So much information, you can now check out every potential supplier in a hundred different ways. But it certainly doesn’t necessarily make decisions any easier, whilst I suppose they are arguably better in the end.

And whatever decision you ultimately take, it’s easy to be left with that nagging doubt – did I do the right thing?

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First Voice

  1. Planbee:

    Aaaargh Information overload!

    In the old days, if you booked a chalet that was 1000m from the lifts you just got on with it. Did it spoil your holiday? No. You just altered how often you went back to the chalet during the day, for example. And you didnt book to go there next year.

    Another problem with all this information is people seem to feel collecting the information is the end in itself.


    So your cherished supplier has a bad D&B rating – watcha gonna do about it?

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