By Carolyn Beal, Director Procurement Solution Marketing, SAP
It’s 2012 – and we’re sophisticated, right? By now, the vast majority of large companies have invested in some sort of sourcing automation tools. But shockingly, many of those organizations are not optimizing their usage of these systems! In many cases, sourcing professionals are using the system as glorified email, uploading pricing spreadsheets or even questionnaires into the sourcing system for suppliers to download and return, rather than structuring their questions and pricing within the system.
Conducting sourcing this way, there is no ability to easily compare responses and pricing, score suppliers, or run optimized award scenarios within the tool. Nor is there an ability to easily re-create a sourcing event. The ability to do these things accurately and quickly is one of the key value drivers of sourcing tools.
Additionally, consider the following benefits of leveraging an automated platform the right way, with structured data throughout:
The ability to easily edit an RFX after its been distributed, and update the supply base on your changes
If used in conjunction with contract management, the ability to pull contract clauses into an RFP event to drive up front buy-in on terms and conditions
The ability to run multi-round RFX easily, passing data from one round to the next, including prior round scores; and establishing a contract directly from the event outcome
The ability to drive competitive supplier behavior and decrease proposed pricing
The ability to easily and transparently include stakeholders in the scoring of RFX responses
And most importantly, the ability to have complete visibility of the RFX activities and award decisions, with justifiable scoring/evaluation data, savings tracking, and visibility to the fact that the RFX was run in accordance with an approved and automated process (not over email!)
Although structuring information might seem time-consuming at first – and establishing a good question library can be, certainly – by using libraries and templates within your sourcing system, you can increase productivity, re-use team knowledge, make better sourcing decisions, and save more.
Carolyn Beal is a Director Procurement Solution Marketing at SAP. She has over 15 years of experience marketing enterprise solutions to companies. Carolyn has spoken on procurement best practices at industry events and is a frequent author in industry publications