By: John Dickey QSTRAT based in Ann Arbor MI.
In his recent post on how data silos undermine the effectiveness of the distributor quoting process, Jon Hansen talked about the importance of buyers sharing their “experience, knowledge, and information” to ensure that they “deliver maximum value to ALL stakeholders.”
After reading the article, the one thing I would add is how “sharing” the supplier experience and knowledge in a systematic way allows the organization to truly profit from their automation or technology investment. An immediate benefit of this ability to share is how it will free-up internal “expert” resources so that they can focus on more strategic or value-add tasks versus repetitive tasks that are best handled by technology.
The Point of Automation
I remember reading a quote from a tech industry executive talking about the fact that technology should be “built for how the world should work” instead of improving the way it does work.
In the context of this article, it means that the sharing or cross-pollination of data intelligence under a “capture once – use many” process eliminates the inefficiencies that have plagued the supply chain world – including sourcing and quoting for some time.
How long have these inefficiencies been a problem?
In a 2002 article, Forrester Research’s Navi Radjou spoke about the inability of ERP-based supply chain solutions to “collect and synthesize data from multiple sources” in real-time.
What is the point of technology if it cannot seamlessly and in real-time, facilitate efficient sourcing and quoting capabilities on an enterprise-wide basis? Automation for the sake of automation doesn’t make sense.
True Sourcing/Quoting Automation
The results of a survey from earlier this year indicated that most procurement departments still utilize their organization’s ERP-based platform for their sourcing and quoting requirements.
These results would suggest that beyond buyer reluctance to share information, the functional limitations to which Radjou and countless others have referred over the years continues to be a significant contributor to present-day sourcing and quoting inefficiencies. In other words, the will to share information to streamline the sourcing and quoting process may exist, but without the right technology, timely enterprise-wide access to data will remain an elusive goal.
To efficiently share knowledge regarding supplier capabilities, pricing and performance, you must look to focused solutions that specialize in this area as it is clearly not an adjunct function, at least not an effective one, of an ERP platform.
In our next article, Steve Wargalla will provide a detailed overview of what you should look for in a “true” sourcing/quoting solution.