Top 5 Things You Can Do to Ensure the Success of Your 2016 Strategic Sourcing Plan

2016 is well underway and, if you’re anything like most strategic sourcing professionals, you have targets for this year and a plan to get there. However, the one thing that’s true about all plans is that they never quite turn out the way you drew them up.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
BY: Ole Nielsen, Chairman and Founder

So what’s a smart sourcing person to do?

How do you make sure that your plan is flexible enough to handle the inevitable bumps in the road?

Where do you focus your energy across competing priorities?

In order to give your plan the best chance of succeeding, make sure you’ve got the foundation in place to deal with what’s surely to come your way by keeping these five strategies in mind:

  • Define success
  • Find an ally
  • Pace yourself
  • Come from a place of help
  • Communicate with credibility

1. Define Success
: Stephen Covey had it right. Beginning with the end in mind enables you to understand the things that need to done to accomplish your goals.

• Is this effort focused on savings, risk management, compliance, something else?
• How will you measure success?
• How will executive management measure it?

It’s far easier to hit the target you can see…and measure.

2. Find An Ally: You are going to need the help and support of Finance. One of the first teams the Executive team will seek feedback from on your plan will be Finance.

• Is your plan realistic?
• Can results be measured?
• Does it align to the broader organization’s financial plan?
• Is the investment required commensurate with the expected return?

If you don’t have someone in Finance who you trust to give you the straight story, find one…quickly.

3. Pace Yourself: Prioritize your target categories. Resist the urge to do everything at once. Be realistic about what can be accomplished in the timeframe committed. The results you’re committing to should always increase, never decrease and time frames should always move forward on the calendar, never backward.

Get help from your Accounts Payable team, stakeholders, and / or trusted partner to think through a phased approach to your Strategic Sourcing Business Plan. Think about and plan for:

• What’s the stretch goal?
• What’s possible?
• What’s realistic?
• What’s a no-brainer?
• How does all of that compare to last year’s results and this year’s (YTD) results?

Be pragmatic. Go slow. Your early successes will beget the opportunity to go after even bigger ones down the road.

4. Come from a Place of ‘Help’: You probably don’t have a mandate from the CFO. Spend a little time getting to know your stakeholders and spend owners. Remember that you are there to help them, not the other way around.

o What’s important to them?
o What are their personal / career goals?
o How can you make them look good?

Helping your business stakeholders understand what’s in it for them will help you get their support and will be a key to your success. They will also tell their counterparts in other business units how much value you provided, driving invitations into other parts of the business.

5. Communicate With Credibility: If you build it (your plan), they still may not come. Be transparent about your plans and progress.

When things are going well, make sure your stakeholders and executives know about it. Regularly and forth-rightly. People want to be involved in successful initiatives. When you hit a bump (and you will) make sure you communicate with equal regularity and integrity. People will judge you on your successes and on how you manage your setbacks.

This is about trust and credibility. When your executives and stakeholders know they will always get the unvarnished truth from you, they will trust you and embrace your efforts. They may even help you build and accelerate your program.

By using these five tactics, you will make sure that your plan is best positioned to succeed. And you along with it.

Easy. Proven. Results.