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Hit Your Sourcing Stride Through Engagement and Quality Data

Successful sourcing teams hit their stride when they find that perfect balance of supplier and stakeholder engagement. So the question is, what steps need to be taken in order to reach that peak? One thing seems to be certain: quality data is the starting point.

And as the race to predict and keep ahead of this constantly changing industry continues, teams who optimize and interweave key data into their day-to-day are also the ones slingshotting their companies to fiscally fruitful futures and beyond.

Optimize and Interweave Your Sourcing Data

“How many people pay attention to the squeaky wheel? If I’m not measuring it, am I paying attention to it? No.”

Chicago Sourcing Leaders (CSL), a professional network of strategic sourcing and procurement leaders based in The Windy City, came together this past Wednesday at Zebra Technologies’ HQ. As most CSL events go, attendees, many of them already peers, chatted over catered lunch before joining in a collaborative whiteboard session with SIG President and CEO Dawn Tiura.

Tiura’s topic of the day: the impact of hearty data, its influence on both supplier and stakeholder relationships, and how this data feeds and strengthens quality supplier engagement. And by implementing quality supplier engagement, both procurement and stakeholder counterparts can accurately quantify performance and set the business up for success.

But, how can sourcing teams best utilize this data in terms of supporting supplier performance? After sitting in on Tiura’s thought-provoking presentation, we’ve put together a short and sweet list of best practices below.

First and Foremost, Be Clear with Criteria

When defining commodity criteria, be sure to identify relevant metrics and correct measurements, especially when related to specific categories. If the metric isn’t well-understood nor well-documented by both the supplier and the stakeholder, precious data can fall through the cracks.

“Anything around the world can impact you — this is why your jobs are so strategic.”

Hold All Parties to a Higher Standard

Suppliers shouldn’t be the only ones subjected to a performance plan. Modern-day category leaders have risen to the challenge by creating their own regularly scheduled category reports to monitor progress against goals, recap wins and/or failures, and forecast priorities and expected results. Then, by distributing to key stakeholders across the business, accountability is clear and exposed gaps can be filled. (Hint: Up the ante by including stakeholders in supplier QBRs — this way, valuable input is recognized and taken into consideration, giving a broader scope of business objectives and greater visibility throughout the org.)

Lastly, A Reminder: Don’t Lose the “Face-Value” of the Supplier in the Process

Sourcing teams who “have it all” not only lay out consistent and reliable performance plans but also set quality in-person meetings with their suppliers. Because by continuing to strengthen the face-to-face rapport that organically occurs with onsites, procurement professionals can maximize supplier output without damaging the long-built relationship.

Be Part of the Inspiration!

Chicago Sourcing Leaders brings together some of the most ingenious and creative minds in sourcing. We would love for you to join us next time! Check out the CSL LinkedIn group to stay in-the-know with upcoming networking events.

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