The ISM Project Management for Supply Professionals Satellite Seminar Program Handbook, despite being limited mostly to presentation slides and a few article reprints, had a few great slides and a few great tips for supply management project management that are doubly true for e-Sourcing project management. Two slides in particular that I would like to point out and comment on are the Seven “Sins” and the Six “Tried and Trues”.
Don’t assume you know the outcome before you start, that you can do it better without full utilization of the e-Sourcing tool, or that suppliers will not be interested. You need to go in with an open mind to achieve true success.
When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.
The end result of a successful e-Sourcing event is an award. This implies that one has to make a decision – and do it promptly, as e-Sourcing comes with the expectation of efficiency. Not to mention, one needs to make decisions at each stage of the RFx process as to which suppliers will be invited to continue through to the final auction or sealed bid negotiation and which suppliers do not make the cut.
To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle.
Just because the tool keeps track of and organizes of RFQs, bids, and supplier information for you, this does not imply that your organization skills can slack. In fact, it implies the opposite. You need to be more organized. Instantaneous delivery allows for instantaneous responses and questions. Shortened cycles mean that you have to be prepared to help suppliers efficiently pass through the stages.
If a man takes no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.
Hand-in-hand with arrogance, stubbornness can kill your project before you start. Don’t resist the tools or cling to the old ways when a new way is faster, better, and more collaborative.
Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.
Negativity is very unlikely to lead to a successful, positive result.
Respect yourself and others will respect you.
Dogs aren’t the only ones that can sense fear. So can people. And not all suppliers will be fair and honest if they think they can walk all over you. Be bold and embrace the brave new e-Sourcing world!
To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice.
e-Sourcing requires trust. Lots of it. If your suppliers don’t trust you, they won’t participate, and the project will be over before it even begins.
The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.
Six “Tried and Trues”
- Define a clear purpose
What is the goal of the e-Sourcing Project? To secure supply? To reduce costs? A combination of both?
- Take the time to gain team buy-in
You need all of the affected stakeholders in your organization as well as your potential suppliers to be comfortable with the project and the process. Take the time to educate them on the benefits and get their support.
- Be supremely organized
e-Sourcing is designed to be a very efficient process. When the project starts, you need to be ready and available to take it to a prompt conclusion.
- Lean about unfamiliar areas
Inspiration rarely springs forth from the mundane or the familiar. Explore related and unrelated areas to understand the far reaching effects of your project and look for insight into ways to improve the process.
- Protect your impartiality
The supplier qualification and award guidelines should be decided before the project begins and to be perceived as fair and trustworthy, you need to do your upmost to adhere to them.
- Be collaborative, then decisive
The purpose of a multi-round RFx process is not just to qualify potential suppliers, but to get their input to refine your needs, RFP, and sourcing plans to the best they can be. Collaborate with your suppliers to get the best set of requirements and designs possible before deciding on the final award decision after the sealed-bid negotiation or auction takes place.
All in all, great advice.