Editor’s Note: Throughout the year, I will be welcoming submissions from Generation Next procurement professionals regarding a wide range of topics relating to our industry.
I think that this is important in that it not only provides the up and coming movers and shakers with an opportunity to express their opinions on the hot topics of the day, but also to create possible points of connection with the old guard and second career professionals. In the end, this will hopefully lead to a more complete and collaborative understanding of our world.
Today’s submission is from Heather Grossmuller, who is a Marketing Manager at Source One Management Services, and a Philadelphia Business Journal “People on the Move” Recognition Recipient.
Solely assuming you’re doing your best to uphold supplier relationships can land you in a rough place. Even if you are well-versed in procurement and can speak every language in existence, nurturing complex supplier relationships in a global spectrum requires frequent communication that often slips without a system to manage the contact. In a recent Supply Management post, Senior eSourcing Consultant Alun Morris looks into how this utility can boost supplier relationships and aid any organization aiming to collaborate with suppliers to enhance their core business. This blog explores the in’s and out’s of eSourcing, Morris’ perspective, and how to allow your supplier relationships to see the immediate advantages of this tool.
What’s The Real Deal with eSourcing?
eSourcing is an online means to manage the procurement life-cycle in a forum accessible to all parties. This tool defines requirements without the subjective viewpoint of one person relaying the specification. What does this mean for procurement? Initially, it presents a great deal of transparency in core procurement activity, allowing more successful engagements.
Beyond the essentials, companies are taking eSourcing a step further and understanding its role in diligent Supplier Relationship Management programs. Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) programs have recently presented overwhelming evidence that firms who invest in these outlets achieve a significant ROI.
In fact, according to a Strategic Sourceror blog post, companies considered to be on the leading edge of SRM best practices see an average of 20x return on investment versus those who overlook the importance of this strategy. Adopting the best SRM practices possible for your organization can yield a significant return. With eSourcing tools, this becomes increasingly feasible.
Management of Supplier Knowledge To Improve Business Relationships
When a supplier mentions a particular need, the professional managing the relationship usually doesn’t have trouble remembering their need to do business with that particular agreement in mind. If that person happens to move on from the company, without an e-sourcing solution there is little record of that need for the company to sustain business with the supplier’s obligations in mind. The knowledge has not been institutionalized.
According to a recent Supply Management article outlining Alun Morris’ perspective, “E-sourcing software can be used as an effective supplier communication tool, whether it be direct to one supplier or as a broadcast communication to multiple suppliers within your supply base. It also helps centralize information and ensure auditability of the sourcing process – communication is vital to effectively express your requirements and allow the supplier to respond – creating as much interaction between procurement professionals and their potential suppliers as possible.”
This utility is an asset for many reasons surrounding its essential functions. But the benefits of eSourcing technologies and improved supplier relationships is picking up a lot of attention as an asset outside of the realized core procurement process efficiencies.
Whisper Down the Lane Is Not Cutting It
To unify information and release data to multiple suppliers with a structured delivery, eSourcing tools provide a framework and clarity that benefit both sides of the relationship. Aside from data delivery and negotiation, supplier relationships should be about regular communication. A collaborative supplier relationship can be identified through an eSourcing tool after contracts and proposals have been worked out—however by standardizing this communication, the complexities of relationship management can be conquered.
eSourcing tools provide a road to facilitate regular conversations and a partnership that has the potential to enhance business performance drastically. To deliver value beyond simply cost savings, a supplier-based approach is key to an organization’s improvement. With eSourcing tools, organizations can find themselves one step closer to this objective.
About the Author
Heather Grossmuller is a Marketing Manager at Source One Management Services, LLC, a Philadelphia Business Journal “People on the Move” Recognition Recipient, an advisory board representative of La Salle University’s Association of Women MBAs, and all-around marketing enthusiast. As Marketing Manager, she oversees Source One’s efforts in internal/external communications ranging from social media management to recruitment.