Implementation strategies for e-Sourcing

There was a nice article in European Leaders in Procurement this month which was written by Alex Hartley, Group Procurement Manager at Sea Containers.

In it, he references the steps taken by Sea Containers to make a successful jump into e-Sourcing. Although starting slowly (6 reverse auctions in Year 1), they built momentum and adoption which is a much stronger strategy then blasting out 25 auctions too fast. Ruining just one of those events with inaccurate information will leave an indelible mark on the project that will last for years — its called “tribal knowledge” and the natives will not forget for a very long time.

Among the reasons he felt they had success with the program included:

  • On-demand tool was used which allowed for easy roll-out and usage with verifiable return within 3 months, rather than waiting for a full software implementation.
  • Executive support was given and encouragement from senior management helped spread the word and increase usage of the tool.
  • In house expertise was supplemented by usage of a 3rd party vendor for category suitability, process organization, supplier outreach and event management.

The last issue is a very important one, but for different reasons than the article mentions. These skills are very important and critical to success. However, Sea Containers was forced to go outside the solution that SAP provided because the necessary support was not available. Many e-Sourcing best of breed vendors will provide this type of service as part of the overall deliverable and it might be included or a marginal cost increase.

Regardless, there are good concepts to be gleaned from this article and a good e-Sourcing vendor should be able to accomplish all the needs of the users for solid usage and growth with an effective roll-out plan.

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