Pursuing Innovation Among Leading-Edge Sourcing Organizations
At the recent Sourcing Industry Group Summit, hundreds of sourcing leaders shared what they were doing to drive innovation in sourcing among their people, within their processes, and from their technology partners.
The leading-edge sourcing organizations can be defined by their strength in the following areas:
- Organizational Culture
- Team Design and Structure
- Strategy and Planning
- Technology Profile
- Processes and Process Management
- Talent Planning and Development
How individual organizations develop and implement these concepts can look very different based on the goals and culture of their larger companies, but gearing these strategic decisions toward maximizing their value generation – as opposed to strict cost savings – and their impact to company operations will shape their contribution to the overall success of their business.
What was evident among the leading teams at the conference was their focus on agility and reducing project cycle time, and the best teams are using technology solutions, like newer, nimbler e-sourcing platforms, to loosen the grip of a rigid 5- or 7-step sourcing methodology to focus sourcing strategy on maximizing business outcomes.
Traditional goals like increasing spend under management have become less of a focus for the leaders in our industry, possibly due to the fact that newer sourcing platforms and spend management tools have made spend management and spend visibility something of a baseline assumption for a well-oiled sourcing organization. Where they are focusing their innovation is on using those software tools to bring visibility to their larger organizational leadership to position Sourcing as a key business partner to the teams they support.
Sourcing leaders are also looking outward to supplier relationships as a means of innovation. Satisfaction among suppliers to their businesses was a widely reported focus for sourcing leaders, as they believe that a partnership model can drive not only more value, on a monetary basis, but also as a means to innovate throughout their supply chains. What starts as an idea during a business review with a key supplier can easily transform into a new standard operating procedure improving outcomes at the customer level.
The Sourcing landscape is evolving with the business landscape, and only the firms who have an eye toward maintaining alignment with these changing business objectives are staying ahead of the pack.