Before you comment about strategic sourcing!

September 29th, 2010

I read the doctor every day and love the content. It is a nice educational resource for procurement professionals.

Recently Sourcing Innovation has carried a series of posts, comments and rebuttals as to whether strategic sourcing is alive or dead. This author also posted on the subject in a two part series titled Join the argument. Strategic Sourcing alive or dead? Part I of II on September 17th. And Join the argument. Strategic Sourcing alive or dead? Part II of II on September 20th.

As I read through much of the content in these posts I came to the conclusion that most solution providers comment are not seeing the forest for the trees. Officially strategic sourcing has been around as a sourcing term for 25 years. Unofficially it has been around as a process as long has man has been able to hunt and gather. Almost all searches on strategy will at some point refer to some from of military definition. That may unfortunately be a commentary on mankind. We can certainly agree however that from a military perspective we don’t need to look any further than Germany’s failure in the Ukraine during WWII to understand that not following ones own strategy can have disastrous effects.

Strategy is about understanding your subject area and all of the influence points associated with it. The question is; can we have a strategy without tools? The answer is yes. The key for solution providers is to develop and refine their tools so that they are easily usable by practitioners in order to carry out their strategy, goals and tactics which by their nature follow larger and more complex plans.

Let’s take a simple look at how we might be complicating things. From this authors perspective a strategic plan is made up of the following high level elements.

1. Strategy: Strategy is science or art and sometimes more of the later of combining and employing the means by which procurement can plan and direct supply chain improvement measured by level of operational efficiency and improvement.
2. Goals or Objectives: Goals or objectives fall directly from the strategy to drive a desired state or desired outcome of  persons or of  systems as set by the strategy
3. Tactics: Tactics are the conceptual action that drive goal fulfillment and are used by the procurement organization to achieve  specific goals or objectives

So simply it is not up to us to determine if strategic sourcing is dead or alive, it is up to the subject company that builds a strategic plan to makes sure they have a strategic procurement element of their plan that uses the best tools available to analyze and measure their results. And who are we to say that is not strategic.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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