If hindsight’s 20/20, how much can the foresight of pre-planning accomplish?
Implementation and compliance are evolving disciplines in the world of procurement.
Companies are focused on rolling out detailed, targeted communication campaigns that explain the featuring and benefits for each function in the organization. Forget the old days of simple emails introducing suppliers. Procurement professionals are working hard to combat common issues they face during the implementation process and while obtaining preferred supplier compliance.
The idea is to improve and better utilize supplier relations—and it’s an ongoing effort. There is an emerging trend of strategic sourcing and moving beyond traditional procurement roles. This strategic thinking lends itself to the separation of a new contract rollout, which can be broken down into the three areas: pre-implementation, implementation and compliance.
Let’s start by talking about pre-implementation. (We’ll cover the other two steps in following posts.)
How to create a pre-implementation process
To achieve a successful implementation and reach compliance goals, planning needs to start from the moment the sourcing process begins. From the beginning, when evaluating suppliers, companies should determine their implementation and compliance objectives to ensure their goals align. Companies also should try to build in appropriate service levels to support implementation and compliance during contract negotiations.
When qualifying a supplier, here are some questions to ask:
- Do you provide an implementation manager? If so, what type of support will they offer?
- What’s your typical rollout plan for a project of this nature (the plan should vary depending on how an organization is set up (centralized, decentralized, center-led, etc.)?
- Can you drive compliance in a decentralized organization with numerous facilities?
- What communication and training methods would you use to create awareness?
- What activities are required to transition from an old supplier to you, and have they been adequately defined, tested and proven to work?
- Do you have supporting structures and resources available to enable change in the organization, especially where the previous supplier had a long and established relationship?
- If the supplier will be part of a dual source, you should ask additional questions about the supplier’s approaches for driving compliance.
Meanwhile, you should be sure to include other functions internally in this vetting process. Even through procurement generally leads sourcing efforts, by involving other functions (marketing, IT, etc.), you can pose specific questions that address other departmental needs. This inclusion ultimately results in greater buy-in from the company once a supplier is chosen.
What’s your experience been?
So, how does your department handle pre-implementation? Is it an official process? Is it something that happens most of the time, but isn’t tracked? Or maybe it depends upon the importance of the category. Documenting this step of the process can help during the next two.
After this stage, it’s time to move onto implementation.