We have a core philosophy here at Source One that says that we, more than being strategic sourcing and procurement experts, are at the heart of our work, consultants.
So in everything we do, we constantly strive to do more than execute a task for our clients, but to deliver extra value by providing advice, or asking questions of our stakeholders to better understand their business, their industry and most importantly, their needs and goals. It’s this consultative approach that has made Source One a pre-eminent strategic sourcing and procurement firm for 25 years.
What made me think of this was a whirlwind day earlier this week I had with one of our clients. It started on a train I was on heading to the client’s office. I spent an hour and a half of a two hour train ride on the phone with the client’s procure to pay department trying to locate a purchase order. The week before I had negotiated a large technology hardware purchase leveraging the end of the quarter to get our client additional discounts. But without the purchase order issued to the vendor and the items shipped by the 31st, we’d lose that discount. Of course, the purchase requisition was stuck somewhere in the “automated” workflow, and as the amount spend was significant, required additional financial approvals. It took a half dozen phone calls, and several e-mails, but I was able to have PO issued and just learned that all of the gear shipped today. Problem solved. The lesson here is more times than not, the consultant knows more about the inner workings of a client and how to get things done than the regular FTEs.
I arrived at the client’s office and stepped into a supplier relationship management meeting with one our client’s largest IT support vendors. The partnership between the client and vendor had become frosty over the past couple of months. Why? Because they hadn’t been following SRM best practices. The client felt that the vendor had become complacent in their efforts to innovate and improve efficiency within IT and the vendor felt the client wasn’t acknowledging the hard work and investments they had made in within the company in the past six months.
Both client and vendor were a little right and a little wrong in their positions and it just took a quick conversation to learn that the root of the issue was a lack of communication at the right management levels. I mediated some quick initial solutions and worked with the vendor to set corrective measures of the next six weeks. There is still a lot of work to do, but I have no doubt the relationship will get back to where it needs to be.
Next up was a quick trip down the hall to another conference room to discuss the implementation of a software asset management (SAM) tool. I provided my counsel on how to best get the client’s vendor database, contracts, license entitlements, and purchase orders migrated over to the SAM application. I also provided insights into the role procurement has to play in SAM and thoughts as to what I have seen as best practices in setting up an asset management program.
From there, I was off to a meeting with Legal Affairs to discuss the renewal of a master licensing agreement with my client’s largest software vendor. Here I discussed items like compliance and audit language in the new contract and explained what the client would want to see in the agreement on key items like data security and privacy, and retention for any cloud services they are, or will utilize in the future.
Then I was off to a vendor demo of a component of a lab information management system (LIMS). I had written the RFP for this project a couple of months ago and was leading the meeting that brought key stakeholders from the business, IT, and project management office together to meet the vendor, see their solution in action, and ask questions. Afterwards, I provided my stakeholders with an analysis on vendor's price proposal, licensing model, implementation timeline and research I had done on the vendor’s history, client profile, and financial stability.
Finally, my day (and early evening) was done. It was a long, productive day. I provided my client with tactical results, operational insights, and strategic guidance. Believe me, this isn’t something that is unique to me. This is something that all of Source One’s consultants do on a daily basis across dozens of industries. Give us a call and let us show you how we can improve your business processes, improve your vendor’s performance, and lower your strategic spend.