Survey Says…..

January 3rd, 2012

Are you using surveys to source more Intelligently?

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing

For many companies the journey to begin a project to source products or services begins with determining what they know about what they are about to purchase.  Many times when the product is one they have purchased previously, the task is simple and the details are readily available.  

In other cases, when new products are being purchased, or when many parts of the business are purchasing the same product but from different vendors or with different agreements, this beginning process can be much more difficult.  

Enter surveys…..Surveys are a useful tool to quickly and easily gain the additional information you need in order to begin a difficult sourcing effort.  Whether internal or external, today’s blog will focus on how you can use them to find the missing pieces of information you may need.

What are we doing? – When large companies have offices in more than one location, many times there are items which are purchased by the remote locations directly.  The obvious problem with this scenario is that the organization is not able to leverage the combined purchasing power it has.  In order to do this, however, how the company is currently doing things must be known.  Running a simple internal survey will allow the company to ask their locations or offices what they are purchasing, how much they are purchasing and for what price.  With this survey you should also determine who the company is working with and, if they are under contract, what the length and terms of that contract are. 

What should we be doing?  – The other useful aspect of internal surveys is to gather information from the offices on what the company “should” be doing.  Asking simple questions about what the location would like to do, or what isn’t working for their current agreement could provide valuable information about the type of vendor you want to look at as well as what types of products and/or services you should be moving with.

Poll your vendors – One area of information that can provide great detail but that some companies never tap into is their own vendors and partners.  Particularly in situations where many vendors are providing the same service you can often get a greater level of detail of what they are providing than you can through an internal search.  The hardest part for many companies is to get past the pride of, as a company, admitting that you don’t have the detail readily available.  Most vendors will not have a problem getting this information and as an added benefit you will get a chance to find out which vendors are willing to work with you during this process so that you can decide who will get the opportunity to win your business.

For more information on running surveys to gather information for your procurement team, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  

We look forward to your comments.

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