Entering the Unknown?

June 29th, 2012

You don’t know what you don’t know!

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Manager of Customer Services at SafeSourcing.

You may have heard people use the expression; “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Personally, I enjoy this saying a great deal. It is a simple truism. When applied to a procurement project, it can represent any number of unknowns or variables that have yet to be determined, but could affect your results.

The question is; how exactly do you find out what you don’t know? It may even be possible that you also don’t know the questions to which you need answers. Well, the good news is, there are some options. In no particular order, here are a few.

1. Internal Survey – Although you may not have a complete grasp of a certain category, others in your organization might. Using an internal survey tool, these associates can be polled for information on product or service details based on their current usages.
2. External Survey – In some cases, an internal survey may not provide enough detail. In that case, use an External Survey that asks the vendors directly what they are currently providing. This step might also be done concurrent with an Internal Survey to maximize the data available.
3. Historical Experience – Ask your strategic sourcing partner about their experience in this category. Any experiences they have had will lend direction to your project. Note: They can also propose the questions for your Internal and External Survey.

For what it’s worth, you will always not know what you don’t know. Hopefully, these suggestions will encourage you to find out what it is that you don’t know one project at a time. I find that knowing that there are options tends to make daunting tasks seem a little more manageable. 

If you’d like some help uncovering what you don’t know about your sourcing projects, contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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