Is your procurement team presenting symptoms of a serious addiction? If its members are truly and utterly addicted to their macros, pivot tables and spreadsheets, now is the time to stage an intervention.
It’s time to take back the efficiency and sanity of your procurement team. This endeavor will not be easy, but remember that you invested tens of thousands of dollars on very powerful sourcing software. Remind them that your sourcing solution helps to minimize the project cycle time. Demonstrate the power of solving very complex sourcing bid in days instead of weeks. Show them that utilizing solutions that have custom allocations and constraints to optimize and analyze is the best way to award your business.
Jason Busch from Spend Matters recently wrote a four-post series about this topic, inspiring me to support his message. In his fourth post, he presented a “rehab model” for how to weed teams off their reliance on Microsoft Excel. I wanted to highlight a few of his suggestions:
1. Invest in core sourcing systems that put Excel into a box from a data-analysis standpoint. Suppliers can use Excel as a tool for filling in information, but they should then upload this information into a sourcing toolset that allows users to conduct their own analysis in the platform.
2. Invest as much time as necessary to train your entire sourcing organization on the use of sourcing approaches that enable optimization and the collection and analysis of larger datasets. Note, this is not just “software training.” Such a move requires opening the minds of team members to sourcing approaches that encourage greater supplier creativity and expressiveness in bidding.
3. Leverage a spend analysis toolset that provides the OLAP and analytical horsepower for running analysis and creating multiple cubes within the application itself without requiring the dumping of information into Excel.
4. Create a marketing plan (internal) to show the afterlife of putting Excel into a more focused role. For example, show the benefits of having a single environment to enable team members to collaborate and have a shared version of the sourcing analytics and scenario truth. Preach the gospels of not having to worry about who on the team has “Master.” And talk about the equal importance of showing the decision process and analysis in an auditable trail that captures all the steps of the process so you can show executives and other stakeholders how you arrived at a particular solution versus just providing the answer.