Keeping your feet on the path of your procurement journey

January 5th, 2016

What are you doing to ensure your strategic sourcing strategy stays on track?

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing archives

As the final film installment of The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, is released, an interesting quote from the previous movie series, The Lord of the Rings, comes to mind.  “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”  The question becomes, how do you keep your feet?  How do you avoid getting swept off?   In today’s blog we are going to look at a few of the ways companies “lose their feet.”

Don’t focus on the path behind – Taking a journey, like life, is all about moving forward.  The path may not always be straight and clear but the process is about moving forward and this is almost impossible to do when you are focused on where you just came from.  Focusing on the mistakes or the past successes for too long will get you off track to where you are going next.   In every day terms this translates into running the next project as successfully as possible without bringing too much of the past into the picture.  Be careful not to assume that a successful strategy on the last project will work on this one, or that a strategy that didn’t work as else well on a project 3 months ago won’t work better for the one you have coming up next month.  As with any journey, there will be plenty of time to stop and reflect on your progress and the things learned, and there should be for projects as well.  Semi-annual reviews and project post-mortem review sessions are helpful activities; they just shouldn’t be th
e focus as the next project begins.

Don’t look down, look ahead…. – When I walk I tend to look down a lot near my feet.  This had led me to find some really cool things (like money) that other people miss, but more often than not, it prevents me from seeing things up ahead of me that would allow me to deal with them before they occur.  Approaching the sourcing process is very similar.  If you focus only on what is going on now you will make decisions based on facts that can and will change and lock those decisions into contracts you must be accountable for.  Looking ahead may uncover an upcoming environmental change that would speak to a shorter deal with a supplier now, with the intention of renegotiating in 9 months when that change comes and puts the company in a better position to negotiate.   Keeping a view of what’s ahead can save you from making costly mistakes that will last the life of an agreement.

…but not too far ahead – What can sometimes happen when you start looking ahead, however, is that it goes too far.  When companies spend so much time worrying about what’s down the road, they can ignore the current climate of their organization.  In these cases they frequently find that they never even get to that spot up ahead they are worrying about because the current situation demanded them to leave the current path and go someplace else.  Sometimes this “someplace else” is out of business.  Balancing the view of what’s coming without losing touch with what is going on today is critical and the companies that do it well can achieve great results that bring extra value to their organization.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help you with your projects and these sourcing strategy discussions, 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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