Strategic Sourcing: improving the purchasing process
Have you ever heard of Strategic Sourcing? This concept has become very widespread among professionals in the purchasing area and in the business environment.
Basically, this methodology intends to analyze the total cost for the aquisition of products or services through observation, mapping and analysis of the specifications of materials, service levels and suppliers.
Read down below so you can understand a little more about Strategic Sourcing and how it helps you to have a more strategic purchasing process.
What is Strategic Sourcing after all?
Issues such as political and economic volatility, technological transformation, among other factors, make the market increasingly competitive. For this reason, it is essential to adopt effective sourcing processes to maximize business performance and efficiency, which helps you stand out from the competition.
Directly linked to the financial health of a business, this strategy is based on evaluating all angles of the acquisition of a material or product, by identifying the impact generated on the organization’s finances. This method starts from the premise that even if the purchase is made to meet the needs of an industry, it is part of the overall strategy of the business.
The use of Strategic Sourcing allows a thorough analysis of all external and internal costs that influence the value of the end products – among them: logistics, storage and procurement. In this way, it is possible to obtain, among other advantages:
- Cost reduction in purchased products and services;
- Improvement in the delivery time of suppliers;
- Improvement of the negotiation capacity with suppliers and speeding up the acquisition flow.
- Standardization of processes according to the formalization of routines, which are now documented;
- Greater knowledge of the supplier market;
- Rationalization of the supplier base;
- Improvement in the internal and external relationship of the organizations’ purchasing department.
In a practical way, with Strategic Sourcing, purchasing organizations can stop focusing only on transactional aspects of purchasing, incorporating greater intelligence into the process as a whole, including the choice of suppliers.
This avoids problems such as buying the same category of materials/products from different suppliers, paying different amounts – which is not good for organizational costs.
How to incorporate Strategic Sourcing
Given the importance of strategy, the consulting firm AT Kearney developed and popularized seven steps in the Sourcing process:
1. Analysis of the product categories used by the business, spending patterns and processes and departments involved
Identifying areas of spending by categorizing them because of their criticality – this categorization will help prioritize the purchasing process. If necessary, other categorization criteria can be created (direct or indirect, international or domestic expenditures, for example).
2. Development of a strategy based on business objectives
The strategy must be based on the objectives of the company, establishing a communication flow in which all those interested in procurement have visibility into the purchasing process as a whole.
3. Market evaluation and creation of a supplier portfolio
In-depth analysis of current and future suppliers, checking their market position and assessing the risks and opportunities they offer.
4. Preparation and formalization of documents for proposal request
Inform suppliers, of expected performance expectations, in addition to the desired material data, allowing them to have a clear understanding of what the organization needs. After these arrangements, which must be repeated with each of the suppliers, the only thing left for you to do is wait for their offer and only then select the ideal supplier.
In fact, this process can be optimized by hiring a company specialized in spare parts, which is responsible for the quotation with the main suppliers in the world and which, among other advantages, still offers the manufacturer’s warranty- see the article and discover the practicality of this type of service.
5. Negotiation with selected suppliers based on careful analysis
It aims to get the best possible deal for the company. This is a very important and detailed step, so we suggest reading the article: Advanced Negotiation: prepare yourself for great results
6. Choice of suppliers and agreements signed
This is the bureaucratic step in which documents and contracts are written, that is, it represents the end of the purchasing process. But be aware: Strategic Sourcing does not end here, since the relationship with suppliers is constant, especially when they are responsible for delivering strategic resource to the organization.
7. Performance monitoring and supply plan optimization when needed
Effectively measuring supplier performance against the organization’s requirements and objectives is an ongoing job that will help you understand risks and plan strategies to minimize possible supply chain disruptions.
Among the forms of monitoring, it is possible to adopt the QBR (Quartely Business Review) technique, which, as the name says, consists of talking quarterly with the main suppliers of the company and discuss topics such as cost reduction and improvement of service.
Doing a satisfaction and quality control survey with the departments that requested the services of the purchasing sector is a good way to collect other data and evaluate the performance of suppliers, as well as identify whether the contract is being fulfilled. This data will be very useful for the QBR meeting and also for directing improvements and seeking the best solutions to anticipate and/or solve problems.
Making a detailed analysis of your suppliers using the Strategic Sourcing matrix (below) is another way to track supplier performance.
Strategic Sourcing Matrix
After the 7 steps of Strategic Sourcing we recommend the formation of the so-called strategic sourcing matrix – download here our spreadsheet that will help you design your matrix!
It is basically a chart divided internally into 4 quadrants – see the model below:
We have prepared a Matrix model to help you map your suppliers! To download the material click here!
Analyzing the Criticality/Business Impact axis, we will see at the top the items of greater financial weight for the company, representing greater strategic importance for the business. At the bottom, we have the items with less financial weight and less relevance to the company.
Difficulty in Obtaining/Complexity of Market is the axis where, on the right, we have the materials inserted in a more complex market (few suppliers, influenced prices, monopolies, cartels, etc). On the left side, we see the products or services that are in a more competitive market, with several suppliers fighting for supply contracts.
Positioning each product on a chart like this helps purchasing professionals to have a broader view of the company’s needs and their respective financial impacts on the business.
Don’t forget to access here the material we prepared to help you with supplier mapping!
Therefore, the implementation of Strategic Sourcing in an organization requires collaboration and awareness of the importance of data collection. In addition to technology management, operational intelligence is required – see the article Essential skills for the 4.0 purchasing manager – and the use of platforms and systems, such as Business Intelligence, for example.
Take the opportunity to try Soluparts’ services, a specialist in indirect material procurement, that counts on the world’s leading suppliers. We negotiate the best prices and payment conditions to optimize your company’s purchasing process: request a quote with Soluparts!