Boosting Your Sourcing Data Collection

November 2, 2015 Catarina Brito

Internal Stakeholder Involvement Using Internal Surveys

Many sourcing professionals working in multinational organizations struggle to get the data they need to build the best regional sourcing strategy for specific categories, most commonly in non-manufacturing indirects. The root causes may vary, but from Elemica’s experience the non-integrated access to IT systems across countries, the limited time from sourcing professionals to collect detailed information on non-critical categories and the low engagement of local stakeholders with regional / global procurement are all important causes of low visibility.

As an answer to this data limitation, Elemica has been including in the scope of its projects a phase for the collection of information by engaging directly with local stakeholders, using structured and custom built surveys in e-sourcing platforms. The involvement with local stakeholders has proven very useful not only in collecting volumes, specifications and local market information in a time efficient way, but also to start a discussion about how the local methodologies can benefit or contribute to best practices across the organization.

The exercise of surveying stakeholders might be an important first step in the process to understand the local circumstances, discuss alternatives and sell in the concept of one strategy for all. The surveying and requesting of input from stakeholders is just the beginning and the successful continuation of the project requires consistent communication and strong involvement from the project lead.  

As best practice, Elemica starts every survey exercise with a formal kick-off presentation to introduce the stakeholders to the project together with the customer buyer responsible for the project. This allows the stakeholders to ask questions and raise concerns. Stakeholders can be advocates for change or resistant and the initial kick-off gives the project team the opportunity to resolve blockers before they can impact the delivery of the project.

Following the kick-off the stakeholders are invited to log in to an e-sourcing platform to answer a short online questionnaire and/or complete a matrix showing each stakeholder’s spend and volumes etc. It is important that stakeholders are permitted to submit information about services specific to their location as sometimes these services differ between factories and warehouses.

Once submitted, Elemica combines, analyzes and compares the submissions, looks for best practices and identify areas needing improvement. The results are summarized using visual aids, like graphics and tables, and presented back to the stakeholders. Good visuals can help to show the differences between sites and how they operate on a regional, country, factory and even line item basis. An open forum allows stakeholders to justify the results and discuss opportunities they may not have considered previously. They are provided with regional insight, which is not always available to them, as well as the vision of the project leader which can be very persuasive when the results are provided back to stakeholders in this format. 

What should you expect from running an internal survey as a part of a project with Elemica? 

  1. Reduced workload on your side in collecting the required data to start a project, as Elemica handles most of the efforts of engaging and gathering the information;
  2. Summary of best practices and improvement points across locations (internal benchmark), as a result of the survey Elemica prepares a summary of conclusions and points out the best practices across countries;
  3. Evaluation of opportunities to leverage sourcing approach locally or regionally, as a result of the survey more insight will be available to discuss options and next steps;
  4. Higher involvement from stakeholders and enhanced knowledge about corporate objectives, surveying local concerns and limitations is also a good moment to feedback on regional strategy and engage successfully stakeholders. 
  5. Structured data to (potentially) go for tender;

Would you like to know more about the benefits or best practices of incorporating stakeholder surveying in your sourcing projects? Please contact us at catarina.brito@elemica.com

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