Ten Dos and Don’ts for Working with Sourcing Managers
So what do sourcing managers value most when they evaluate sellers for new projects? To learn the answer, Supply Lines asked sourcing experts for the inside scoop on their peeves and preferences. Part 1 of the series included insights from Karen Sherrill at Ohio State University. Here in Part 2, Kory Manley, who has conducted over 1,000 auctions in his role as sourcing process and compliance manager at Caesars Entertainment, discusses ways sellers can use e-sourcing technology to gain favor with their prospects and customers. Today we'll share the first five tips.
Tip #1: Don’t respond negatively to new solutions. “One of our major vendor management challenges is that suppliers jump to conclusions about new systems or programs before they even take the time to hear about them,” Kory says. For example, Caesars encountered seller resistance when they launched Ariba Sourcing™. “Vendors were worried about the potential for auctions and the new system getting in the way of relationships they had, and we heard LOTS of noise about it,” Kory says. Once sellers got acquainted with the new solution, however, they realized it benefited them in many ways—e.g., by giving them instant updates on spec changes during the sourcing process and replacing labor-intensive email questionnaires with easy-to-use e-templates. “Now about 70 percent of what we source goes through Ariba Sourcing, and we see a vendor base that’s very interested in and happy to get invited to these events,” Kory notes. “It’s clean and efficient for them and for us.”
Tip #2: Do take advantage of buyer-offered training. When customers offer training or mock events to help you get accustomed to sourcing activities or solutions, use them—even if you’ve participated before. Exercises like these familiarize you with the format ahead of time, so you can focus on your pricing and performance during the actual event instead of worrying about how to use the tools.
Tip #3: Do read event content and instructions up front. Like most buyers, Caesars provides explicit seller rules and instructions prior to sourcing events to make the process easier. All too often, however, sellers fail to review them. “By actually reading that content, you can avoid being disqualified for engaging in prohibited activities like backdoor selling,” Kory points out.
Tip #4: Do emphasize your diversity. Make sure you emphasize being small, local, or diverse—and indicate that status by filling out the “Certifications” tab in your Ariba cloud profile. “In many jurisdictions, we’re required to do business with diverse vendors,” Kory says. “And on the Ariba® Network, you want to share the right information in the right spot. We use Ariba Discovery™ to find diverse vendors now, but if a supplier doesn’t indicate their diversity status in the right place, they won’t show up in the search.”
Tip #5: Don’t partner with another seller without asking. “We had a situation where one vendor decided to team up with another to respond to an RFP,” Kory says. “We found out because the second vendor requested direct event access.” While some situations do require more than one seller, buyers need to be involved in that decision, Kory explains. “We have to adhere to intense regulations and meet specific diversity or local spending requirements, and joint awards can be one way to do that. So great, let’s get together and talk about it. But don’t do that on your own or just tell us you’re going to.”
In the next blog, we'll uncover the last five steps