Welcome back to another installment of Whitepaper Wednesday here on the Purchasing Certification Blog. Today, I’ll be reviewing a whitepaper entitled “Lessons Learned from the
Recession: Strategic Sourcing” from Ariba.

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At the core of this whitepaper are 10 lessons about strategic sourcing that were learned during this most recent economic recession. Despite the appeal of a title that relates to current events, these lessons are really timeless procurement principles that aren’t exactly new. But that’s not a bad thing. It just goes to show that the need to “bring more spend under management,” “expand your category coverage to include non-traditional ‘sacred cows’,” and “mitigate risk and manage supplier performance by implementing an enterprise-wide supplier management program” isn’t going away any time soon.

However, what I would like to focus this post on is the material that isn’t so traditional in nature. For instance, Lesson #2 – “Reconsider ‘best-in-class’ spend analysis” – highlights how far spend analysis systems have come by discussing how some of them now include rich supplier information such as “financial information, risk ratings, diversity details and, more recently, suppliers who are certified as green due to pro-environmental practices.” This lesson encourages buyers to use such systems to analyze sourcing market dynamics by watching price indices, peer benchmarks, or results-oriented savings figures.

Now that is some exciting stuff!

Technology advances also permeate Lesson #5, “Leverage automated supplier discovery tools.” Though Ariba was not as descriptive with these tools as they were in the section on spend analysis tools, you certainly can’t help but be curious about what they have available in this category as they lambaste a variety of means of finding suppliers ranging from Google to peer recommendations.

Finally, I personally love Lesson #9, “Work more collaboratively with key suppliers to jumpstart innovation.” Though a concept that’s been talked about for over a decade, I think that buyer-supplier collaboration may finally be ready for prime time. The whitepaper says “Best-in-class procurement organizations realize that driving sustainable cost reduction in the supply chain would require a more-collaborative relationship with their strategic suppliers who can help with innovation, demand-generation and creative cost savings projects.”

Amen. Now let’s just figure out how to do it!

Like I said, there are a few new ideas in this whitepaper and many “oldies but goodies.” It’s definitely worth a download. You can get your own copy from Ariba’s Web site (registration required).

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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