Procurement teams are faced with designing supply management strategies that can stand up to economic pressures, political events and natural disasters. These strategies must support evolving business needs and ensure they can survive and thrive, almost at the same time. That means striking the right balance between cutting costs and keeping up with revenue and customer demands.


So how can you achieve this balance? Start by asking these five key questions:


  1. Who are my suppliers - really? You need deep insight into your supply chain - to know where strengths, weaknesses and risks lie. Enlisting a third party to help validate and expand supplier-provided information is an important step to expanding the information footprint.
  2. Where are levers for cost savings and risk mitigation? Everyone wants to do more with less. Identifying opportunities to consolidate or renegotiate contracts can lead to cost savings. The old adage is true – some risk does reap rewards. Depending on the situation, taking risks can guide you to look beyond the numbers to where the true value in sourcing decisions lie.
  3. Where are opportunities to diversify the supply base? Supplier diversity programs are getting more attention, and companies are realizing the value of working with diverse suppliers, beyond achieving mandate-driven goals.  A diverse supply base can help grow your business – through increased market share among target customer bases, stronger share price, faster innovation cycles, and increased brand awareness and loyalty.
  4. How can I get advance warning of supplier disruption or changes in the status quo? You don’t want to hear one of your key suppliers went bankrupt on the evening news. You need to know at the first sign of trouble. Advance warning can mean the difference between avoiding a disruption or scrambling to pick up the pieces.
  5. What can our company do to stay ahead of the competition? One of the most important things you can do is to have access to quality data, when and where you need it. The right information gives you the ability to make more informed and confident business decisions.    


As part of a panel discussion addressing spend analysis and supply management,  I’ll be presenting at Ariba Live alongside Spend Visibility customers Reed Elsevier and the BMO Financial Group on Wednesday, April 11th at 4:45 p.m.  Join us to hear how these two market leaders are managing their global supply chains.