March Madness Lessons

March 24th, 2014

How are you approaching the strategy for picking your next sourcing projects?

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President and COO at SafeSourcing.

This time of year sports enthusiasts are treated to one of the greatest stretches of excitement as the Men’s NCAA College Basketball Tournament gets underway.   As 66 teams full of young players put everything they have on the line to win their games, we as spectators get to enjoy some of the greatest moments in sports history.  Of equal importance to fans are the bracket challenges where the object is to correctly pick the outcome of each game in the tournament.  There are all sorts of strategies I have heard of how people select their pools from in-depth research to the color of a team’s jersey.  In today’s blog we will be looking at some of the common traits found in most successful bracket selections and how those concepts can be applied to selecting your next sourcing projects.

Low hanging fruit: The #1 Seeds– When laying out the strategy for upcoming sourcing projects one of the first tasks for success is to go through and get the quick easy projects lined up and executed first.  Like going through and selecting the #1 seeded teams in a bracket challenge, this locks in quick wins with good results and creates positive energy about the strategy right away while more time can be invested in researching and developing the plan for the more complex selections. 

Taking risks: The Cinderellas– As with any selection process there will be times when certain risks must be taken.  These may be sourcing projects that have a lower spend, few available suppliers, critical categories to the business or recently negotiated deals.  These projects may pan out and deliver great results and are the ones that from time to time should have a chance taken on them so that the department does not get so focused on the easy and safe projects that potential value slips through the cracks.  Risk is only good, however, in moderation because too much risk quickly becomes recklessness and leads to a poorly structured foundation of choices that will not lead to long-term success.

Using the stats: Let the Data Talk – Once the first few rounds of project selections have been made it requires some additional time and attention to detail to go after the next projects.  These are projects that are not as straightforward and are the decisions that should be worked on while the low hanging fruit is being executed so that the momentum of that first set of successes is not lost.  When analyzing these decisions it is important to look at what is being done everywhere.  Research the market to find out if other companies are taking paper products out to market and the level of success they are having.  Are there any recent updates for the company or industry which would improve or decrease the success of a potential selection?  Dig into how a category has been sourced in the past few years.  What was learned about previous strategies that worked and that didn’t?

Sourcing project selection is obviously a much more complex and important process than filling in a tournament bracket but the concepts of selecting your easy projects first to get momentum, taking some risks occasionally and using the data to point you in the right direction are good concepts that still apply.  For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist with project slection or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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