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How UBER Drives Scale and Standardization in Sourcing

What’s the secret to scaling and standardizing your sourcing strategy? Watch this Throwback Thursday video and learn how Uber’s Head of Global Strategic Sourcing has focused on people, process, and technology to deliver impact beyond a savings number.

“I think everyone’s at Uber is a Scout user here, so you know how easy it is to use. Our customers love it, our stakeholders love it, our suppliers love it, and it’s easy to use internally.”

Watch the SPARK session below to hear Neil’s insights:

How UBER Drives Scale and Standardization in Sourcing

Feel free to watch this session at any time.

Video transcript – SPARK 2018 Keynote featuring Uber

Stan Garber: We thought it’d be good to bring a few customers on stage as we’re going through this, and tell their sourcing story and their journey. I’d love to welcome Neil, from Uber.

Neil Aronson: Good morning, everyone. Neil Aronson. I have been with Uber for a little under two years, now. My role is responsible for the global sourcing team. Today I’m going to talk a little bit about our sourcing story. I started in mid of 2016. I’ll talk you through 2017, 2018, and what we’re doing beyond. When I first joined, we had a six person headcount. Most of which were in the US. I had one individual in Amsterdam, who had just been hired.

The whole team was relatively new. I’m going to talk you through people, process, and technology. I know it sounds somewhat cliché, but it really starts with people. To hire the right team to manage this really made a lot of sense. I was lucky and fortunate to have key leadership positions filled when I had joined, in the marketing space. Places space, which is really construction, real estate and facilities management, and then in the IT space.

From then, we grew the team to 20 and where we are currently today (Feb 2018). I structured the organization similar to a Salesforce, or really any global company these days where the global folks in the US who own the global category strategies and then we hired in region. One of each, in our main facilities. It was in my case, Singapore, India, Mexico City, Brazil and Amsterdam to really take those global strategies, implement them at the local level, and then take anything that’s incremental or net new within region that made sense from a local standpoint.

We really focused on process in 2016 and 2017 as it relates to building and sourcing guidelines. Before the guidelines, there was really no engagement model. The team was super strong with deep category expertise. It was inherent that they had built great relationships with some of the leaders early on, but there was no model. As our company grew, we became more and more important to build that foundation, to help us scale and halfway through 2017 and beyond.

We put together sourcing guidelines, policies and rolled that out to the greater organization. We also met with our CFO and outlined a savings methodology that really articulates, how do you define cost savings? How do you define P&L savings? Does it flow to the bottom line? We classify it that way, but we actually never reduce budgets, just because it drives somewhat the wrong behavior with our stakeholders.

We initially wanted to have great interaction, drive savings and let the business reinvest if that’s what they want to do. If they want to take money from their budgets, so be it, but we weren’t going to push that fact. A lot of process building in 2017 and then we used technology to help drive all that. Uber started with Scout RFP. Actually, I started using Scout back in 2014 when I was at Salesforce. Fantastic tool then, even better today.

Rolled that out globally, and up and running within pretty much a day. I think everyone’s at Uber is a Scout user here, so you know how easy it is to use. Our customers love it, our stakeholders love it, our suppliers love it, and it’s easy to use internally. We’re using it for that purpose solely. We were however, using Salesforce for different areas, at Uber back in 2016 and 2017, as we have a close relationship with our business development folks where we leverage the supply base, both on the buy and sell side. They were all using Salesforce to manage their leads and accounts, so it made sense for us to use it.

I’ll talk a little bit about 2018. Why now in 2018 we are evaluating Scout to help manage all of the pipeline intake forms, along with the sourcing piece today. That’s kind of 2017. It was really around building the process and the foundation for scale and letting us engage and drive deeper savings in engagement with the business.

You can see our technology suite here really was around Salesforce, Scout for RFPs and we use Spring CM for a CLM solution. 2018, is really going to be a year around driving more value. Savings are table stakes. Every sourcing organization is going to have a savings goal. Whether it’s cost avoidance, revenue generating, or cost savings, but at the end of the day I look at that as, that’s just doing our job. How do we show value beyond savings?

I think we’re going to start moving into more of an SRM formal program to help show value, similar to Alex talked about too, as it relates to the sourcing report. That’s why Uber looks at using Scout across all areas of our technology so we can get that one, comprehensive look.

Ever since I was at Salesforce, when we as customers asked Scout for features and product enhancements, pretty much see everything implemented over the evolution. At Salesforce we appreciated that support, and that’s another reason why at Uber I’m evaluating these tools, because I do believe that Scout listens, and they really do modify their products appropriately.

Again, 2018 really is a year around looking at technology to streamline our operations, and really show that value. SRM, I know it’s live today, and we do have access to the test environment. It’s pretty slick, just like Scout’s sourcing product, super easy to use. We’ve looked at many tools at this point, and although they’re all powerful, sometimes it’s just too much. Whereas Scout is, again, just like the sourcing module. Super easy to use. Easy to follow and stakeholders like it. The functionality is exactly what we need, and see how we move forward in 2018.

This is potentially how our technology stack could look as we move forward. This year (2018) is really around scale and using technology to help drive that scale and standardization across our product suite. I don’t know that we have time for Q&A, but if you guys have any questions around the product suite, or just in general around the Uber story, be happy to have a discussion offline. (If you would like Neil’s contact details, please feel free to DM me)

Michaela Dempsey | Tags: , , ,

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