The Importance of Subject Matter Experts

August 20th, 2014

A vital contributor to any successful procurement project

Today’s post is by Michael Figueroa, Account Manager at SafeSourcing

Reaching out to vendors to obtain quotes or information is only as effective as the quality of specifications and requirements communicated. Variables such as size, quantity, color, material, mixture, function, distribution, configuration, integration, certification and compliance, or even unknown variables, can often times be readily identified by the individual with deep understanding of the product or service. Subject matter experts (SME) are often time the only link a procurement manager has within their organization to the processes that require the purchase. 

Having the wrong party involved
Getting buy-in from an internal resource who isn’t well-informed about how the product/service is to be utilized can undermine the value of a request for quote. Without the right understanding, a vendor can misinterpret specifications that leave too much open to interpretation. A SME with good insight can inform the process to keep the requirements in line with expectations.

Vendor referrals
Often times a SME will already have some preferred vendors in mind, and their referrals can be a great starting point to finding a full complement of vendors that can meet your needs. Furthermore, previously known vendors often work in the specialization that your SME operates within, and may be familiar enough with the industry to forge a smooth transaction.

Confirm what you know
Make sure to check what you learn from the SME with the information you have on previously purchased products, because a misunderstanding can be costly. Also, if you are bringing a new vendor to the table the SME may not always be on board with the change, even if it needs to happen. Make sure there are no conflicts of interest steering the project in the wrong direction.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with this process 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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