When you are about to conduct a strategic sourcing event, one of the first steps includes data collection. Here are a few pointers to consider next time you have a new sourcing project. Let's say you are at the point where you have all the spend data for a particular category and now you need to organize it in a usable format. For example, if you have a stack of invoices with the information you need on them, think about 3 things:

1. What information is on the invoice? Is it office supplies or parts for a car?

Don't be afraid to take a few minutes to research and understand what you are looking at before you start entering data into a spreadsheet. It's only going to be a benefit to you as you move forward with a project.

2. What information from the invoices is important?

Outline the database with the information you feel is important before you start to enter the data. Put things in an order that makes sense to you and potentially other people that may look at the database.

3. What is the best way to enter data so that you can easily conduct a spend analysis?

Everyone has their own format for entering data into a database. I have no issues with that, but as you are entering the data don't get yourself stuck in a data entry trance. Take a look at what you're entering every once in awhile and make sure everything you are entering is in line with the data from the invoices or report.

And please, don't just plug away entering numbers believing it is correct. Use Formulas! Especially is you are using tools like excel and access. These programs can do amazing thing to help you enter data and check your work.
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Lindsey Fandozzi

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