The world of e-Sourcing isn't exactly a new phenomenon and companies have a myriad of e-Sourcing tools available to them. However, before rolling out a suite of tools you must first understand if this is something your company is in fact ready for. It's all too common that an organization adopts a software suite, attempts to roll it out organization wide, and doesn't see the success they were anticipating. E-Sourcing suites promise increased cost savings, decreased sourcing cycle times, decreased administrative costs and decreased time to market. However, if the appropriate change management approach isn't taken companies typically will not see all of these benefits. Let's take a look at some of the reasons why your organization may be resistant.

  • People are always scared to change whether it is because they fear the unknown, or they simply are set in their ways. Remember a lot of resources are from the generation prior to all the technological advances. Ensure that you are providing proper training and spending an adequate amount of time with the stakeholder prior to rolling out a tool set. If the stakeholder doesn't fully understand it they either won't use it, or won't use it the right way.
  • Be prepared to tackle stakeholder push-back. It's common that a stakeholder will argue that the category they manage does not fit into a typical sourcing process, isn't strategic, or that the supply base will be resistant. In my opinion, all categories can fit into a sourcing process. Yes, it might be atypical, but your process should be fluid enough to be able to adapt to stakeholder needs as well as the category itself. Not everything is going to be as easy as sourcing a basic indirect category such as office supplies. Also all categories are strategic in some shape or form even if the relationship with the suppliers is viewed as tactical, there must be a purpose behind why you are procuring those items for your organization. In regards to a resistant supply base, remember you are the customer and a good supplier will conform to fit your process and way of doing business. Ensure ample training is provided on the supplier end and that you are prepared to answer supplier questions when they arise. Be proactive and don't let the supplier get frustrated.
  • Stakeholders sometimes fear that sourcing is there to take over their responsibility of managing the category. From there perspective they may believe you are there to take over because either they are not doing a good job or eventually the company may be looking to downsize. Ensure that you prep the stakeholder you are no taking over, you simply are there to provide support and guidance. You are trying to incorporate a tool set to make their lives easier and allow them to focus more of their time on core responsibilities other than sourcing. After the necessary training, optimally, you will not be involved in the day to day.
Again these are just some challenges I have seen with e-Sourcing roll-outs. Some of the solutions may seem simple but they are steps organizations often overlook. It is important to ensure you have a plan in place to address all these needs and issues up front prior to mandating the use of an e-Sourcing platform.
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Mike Croasdale

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