Sourcing Intelligence, Marketplace Assessment, Market Analysis; whatever you call it in your organization, it’s that one step in your sourcing methodology that usually doesn’t get enough attention.
We’ve all been there. The client is convincing you to get that RFP out as quickly as possible because the business needed that widget or service yesterday! Under the heated pressure, you do your best to get the RFP out the door before 5pm and maybe you skipped a step or two in your sourcing methodology. Who needs sourcing intelligence, right? Wrong! Having dedicated people doing Sourcing Intelligence or dedicating your time to this important task has numerous benefits. In this down economy, information is power! It allows for:
New vendor introduction or competitive landscape;
Reduction in risk by anticipating market trends;
Timely, relevant information for a given commodity or industry;
Identification of potential issues with supply continuity; and/or
Assessment of financial viability of the supply base.
Sourcing Intelligence also allows for improved decision making by confirming your current sourcing strategy or identifying alternative sourcing strategies (keeping the possible risks in mind). Additionally, savings and cost avoidance tend to increase when Sourcing Intelligence is utilized.
Great! You’re convinced that you need Sourcing Intelligence. Now where can you find it?
A few examples of credible sources include the Sourcing Interests Group (SIG), Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, Gartner, Thompson Reuters, and Reed Publications.
Some sources of information are subscription based and contain premium information, reports, assessments, etc. It’s important in these budget-tight days to find low cost or free information wherever possible. Look for:
Professional organizations such as SIG and the Procurement Strategy Council (PSC) – Both require a username and password for the paid subscription but non-members can participate in some webinars, obtain industry news and publications, and have access to various whitepapers and toolkits.
Trade publications – Some are free in print or available online. Others are available as part of a membership. Some examples include B2B Purchasing (as part of the PMAC membership), Reed Publications including Logistics Management, Purchasing and Supply Chain Management Review, etc. You can also find ones for IT, Marketing, Real Estate, etc.
Befriend a search engine – Google, Yahoo, Bing, and learn how to use the advanced search functionality to find more targeted research.
Supplier base – if you have good relationships with your suppliers, you may be able to contact them and speak one-on-one. They will have valuable insight into their industry.
If your budget allows for subscriptions, some excellent sources are:
SIGs “Peer2Peer” knowledge sharing program where you can access peers from around the globe and across industries through the global and regional meeting framework, conferences, or Peer2Peer email requests (you can ask your peers a question anonymously).
ThompsonOne subscriptions are great for getting up-to-the-minute news from Reuters and other sources.
Gartner is fabulous for IT related research.
DnB reports can help you assess the financial health of a company to help reduce risk.
ProPurchaser is a great source of information for commodity pricing and trending.
In summary, Sourcing Intelligence aids in the decision making process and results in better contracts that have risk mitigation built in. It creates a solid approach to launch the recurring process of pursuing intelligence – one that seeks to understand, develop and vet next generation sourcing concepts.
It’s been well proven over time that successful organizations make more informed decisions and use best-in-class practices to streamline and manage their businesses. They leverage procurements capabilities and knowledge, come up with solutions, and devise strategies to control their costs. Sourcing Intelligence is a tool that facilitates these achievements. If done well, it will lead to improved risk management and increased profitability. Sourcing Intelligence enables the decision-making process of C-level executives—their ability to identify and forecast opportunities leads to prioritization of top spend categories and significant savings in the short to medium term and strategic decisions for the long term.
Rogers Communications presented at the 2011 SIG Global Leadership Summit in Seattle on the topic of Centers of Excellence. You can download a copy of the presentation here.