The Prognosticators Series: 2013 Predictions by Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2

Posted on January 21, 2013

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Editor’s Note:  As is often the case when the hands of time tick relentlessly forward into another new year, we take this opportunity to look ahead to what the next 12 months might hold in store for us both personally as well as for the purchasing industry as a whole.

In this fourth installment of our 2013 Prognosticators Series, Next Level Purchasing’s Charles Dominick talks about “Just One Thing” . . . SOURCING.  By the way, be sure to check out Charles’ Purchasing Certification Blog.

City Slickers One Thing

In January, it is customary for thought leaders, writers, and, let’s face it, just about anyone with an opinion to post their predictions for the New Year.  I was hoping to escape the craze in 2013.

After all, when you are wrong, people think that you don’t know what you’re talking about, even if your ideas were simply ahead of their time and end up coming to fruition in a later year.  If you’re right, there are always the people that will claim that you made an obvious prediction or that your prediction actually came true in a previous year or something else.

However, your friend and mine, Jon Hansen – the architect of this wonderful blog – invited me to share my predictions right here in this space.  I admire Jon’s work so, when he makes a request for my opinion, I usually share it.  So, here we go!

Actually, I have just one procurement-related prediction this year.

My prediction is that “sourcing” will become a household word in 2013.

Really?

Yes, really.

Well, not in the sense that a dutiful husband will say to his wife “I am going to the store for the purpose of sourcing our groceries for the week.”  But more in the sense that the word “sourcing” will enter mass media in a way that it will be hard to ignore.

Let me tell you how I see this happening.

First, more companies than ever will tout their sourcing practices as a competitive advantage in their marketing.

Companies are always trying to get an edge over their competition.  This has slashed margins to the bone in many industries.  Once prices reach a certain point and all players in the market reach that bare minimum price, they have to look at different ways to convince consumers to buy their product instead of someone else’s.

Enter sourcing.

Consumers are perhaps more sensitive to a variety of issues than ever before.  Political issues, environmental issues, social issues, you name it.  And their opinions on these issues usually are quite emphatic.  If you disagree with me, you probably don’t have a Facebook account!

Anyway, companies will appeal to these consumers’ sensitivities by communicating how they source.  Whether that will be things like food companies sharing how they monitor payments through the supply chain to ensure that small farmers are paid fairly or how they are eliminating gestation crates in their pork supply chains; services companies sharing how they buy from diverse suppliers, including LGBT-owned (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) suppliers; manufacturers sharing how they rationalized their packaging to be more environmentally-friendly; or other manifestations of social responsibility in the supply chain, the public will hear how companies are sourcing, whether they asked for it or not.

Second, a disaster – natural or otherwise – will bring news coverage to a situation affected by sourcing decisions.

This can come in two ways.  The disaster can pose little to no disruption to a company’s output and ability to serve the consumer, which will show how sourcing averted a crisis.  Or the disaster can severely disrupt supply to the company, causing the company financial harm and its customers much frustration, thus showing the consumer how unprepared sourcing leads to a business mess.

I hope it’s the former and not the latter, though the nature of the news would probably result in the former being ignored but the latter being a top headline.

So, there you have it.  My one little prediction for the year.

However, it’s kind of big if you think about it.

The more the common person hears about “sourcing,” the more likely that future generations will be interested in choosing it as a profession.  People have decided to become doctors and teachers and firemen because they became aware of what those people do at a young age.  Attracting more talent to our profession can only be a good thing.

Now, go watch TV and listen for the word “sourcing.”  You’ll hear it more than ever in 2013.

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