This past year went by very quickly, and unfortunately, I did not get to blog and write about nearly as much as I have in years before due to the overwhelming growth of activity in the procurement and sourcing sector. Every year, I try to write a bit of a recap about Strategic Sourcing and procurement as a whole, as well as provide some insight into the hottest articles and trending stories that were on the StrategicSourceror the year before. This post will be a rushed mix of stats an thoughts/observations of 2015 and 2016.

The hottest posts of 2015 at the Strategic Sourceror:

  • The Staples/Office Depot merger (ultimately rejected) was one of the biggest stories in the procurement world this year. Unsurprisingly, any articles on our site that mentioned it had a lot of traffic.
  • Risk Management and SRM were big topics this year. “Selling Snake Oil: risk management in strategic sourcing” was one of our most read/retweeted posts. 
  • Staffing challenges was probably the hottest topic of the year. Nearly every one of our posts dealing with procurement or sourcing staffing issues trended in the top 5% of traffic for our website this year. 
  • An oldie, but a goodie, “Most Supidest Contract Clauses, Part I" was in our top 25 read articles for the 5th straight year:  
What’s in demand for Indirects? 

  • Last year, by far, the top three biggest requests we had for Indirect Sourcing Contractors came for IT sourcing subject matter expertise, Marketing sourcing expertise, and “stand up” specialists who know what it takes to build the teams, metrics, processes and systems that are needed to build a proper sourcing function. 
  •  Each had its unique recurring requirements. 
    •  Most of the request for IT contractors were looking for specialists who could source a variety of IT MSP agreements and software agreements, and typically needed the role to handle multiple projects over the course of several months. 
    •  Many of the requests for Marketing sourcing experts were project based, where a marketing group had a specific project (such as selecting a creative agency) and typically were required for only one or two projects. 
    •  On the “procurement stand up” side, companies seem to be more open a MSP model, where a provider such as Source One can provide a lead and support team to ramp up and down resources in an on-demand fashion. .
What’s going on in the directs sourcing space?

  •  Overwhelmingly, we are seeing companies looking for third party support in sourcing direct products and services. It seems that the walls are finally breaking down, and the sacred cows of manufacturing and engineering are starting to work cooperatively with sourcing professionals.
  • Sourcing from Mexico is still a top area for us, as more and more small and mid-sized organizations want to bring manufacturing back from Asia, but lack the in-house resources to identify suppliers in Mexico. 
  •  Secondly, the collaboration between engineering and procurement groups is leading to more VAVE initiatives, and companies are seemingly increasingly more open to getting support from third-party companies. 
How does 2016 look?

I expect that 2016 will be an amplified version of 2015. Sourcing and Procurement groups are going to continue to gain traction in their companies; but a shortage of resources will a challenge that nearly every company faces. The biggest challenge faced by procurement professionals will be in situations where these groups have finally gained internal traction; get a shot at a sacred cow; and “blow it” because they don’t have the hours, experience, people, tools or time to properly source a category. It’s taken years to gain stakeholder confidence internally and it can all be lost by a single professional jumping ship for a new career at the wrong time. Keep in mind, there are companies like Source One that can be your on-demand sourcing resources so that you don’t fall into the same trap.
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William Dorn

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