You have experienced this- the organization spends millions of dollars to buy and implement a software and technology system that no one really uses! Well this topic is clearly where the supply leader is being asked to take ownership of the selection and more importantly the implementation of supply management software. At the level of your own organization if you have to make some massive improvements you need to understand the linkages of any software with your two primary "Customers" viz the internal user and your supplier base. If you make things very unfamiliar or difficult for users then they'll just not use the system and except for the most intrepid suppliers- you might loose out on the quality suppliers who find your systems too difficult.There are 8 sub-topics in this section and they include:
- Business process design: here becoming electronic (eg. an e-auction) does not eliminate supplier communication. You need to still reach out to suppliers and motivate them to participate and your users need to understand the time lines of doing so.
- What e-solutions are available?: Here you are required to figure out not only how useful the solution will be - but how easy it will be to integrate with other parts of the organization like accounts payable.
- How to select an e-solution? Here you need to think about matching up the solution to the medium term goals of the organization. For example, if reducing cycle time is a goal then a system that allows users to log-in their requirements early and allows follow-up with suppliers on an automatic basis might be more useful to you.
- Contemporary e-sourcing tools: There are many of them and what is contemporary five years ago is simply not good today. Think of the cloud type of applications that do not require you to manage either the hardware or software in-house. A good way of keeping up with the contemporary e-sourcing tools is to attend ISM and local chapter talks which have covered topics like e-RFx,EDI,Reverse Auction.
- Managing your on-line event: involves all the steps of the offline sourcing event and the things that come up due to unfamiliarity of the participants.
- Spend Analysis is a big topic and can be done far more efficiently when you use systems and develop category trees ( like Direct category--> packaging ----> cardboard containers----> supplier base) where you try to align items to categories and the supplier base. Keeping data current allows you to manage the risk-value of all categories.
- Contract management software and systems are important because they allow you to speed up the contract signing as well as help monitor the progress while alerting you to the end of contract.
- Supplier performance software can take up data from different points like from the inventory system that records the time of goods delivery,the quality and inspection system that reports quality of goods to survey of users on the user experience with goods supplied.
Thus, to deal effectively with this topic think of the goals and aims of the supply department and the most appropriate technology that will be actually used by all concerned.