Collaboration Technology: The Key to Better Planning and Sourcing
Oh boy! Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) and sourcing teams are having a real tough time dealing with all the chaos caused by this global supply chain mess. Between the pandemic throwing everything off balance, energy costs skyrocketing like Elon Musk’s rocket ships, and inflation refusing to back down like an angry bull in Pamplona – it’s safe to say that things aren’t going too well.
Luckily for these struggling teams of professionals who just want some peace in their lives (and maybe a raise), there is hope on the horizon. Enter collaboration technology, the superhero of planning and sourcing! Many forward-thinking organizations have realized that cloud-based sourcing and planning software can save them from this supply chain nightmare.
Overcoming operational constraints
The biggest problem these poor souls face is their inability to collaborate effectively. It’s like trying to dance a tango with two left feet – it just doesn’t work! You see, many organizations are still stuck in the Stone Age using outdated legacy solutions that rely on manual processes. Can you believe it? Manual processes in 2023!
No wonder they’re drowning in siloed information systems that hinder growth and make everyone want to pull their hair out (or maybe shave it all off). But fear not, because there is light at the end of this dark tunnel. A recent survey by Harvard Business Review found that better data integration leads to more accurate budget forecasting and less overspending. So maybe if we stop relying on carrier pigeons for communication, things might actually improve.
But wait, there’s more! Not only do these teams need integrated technology platforms, but they also need some serious organizational restructuring. Apparently, having planning and sourcing report to different department heads inhibits collaboration (who would’ve thought?). According to the same HBR survey, 47% of respondents agreed that changing reporting structures could be beneficial.
A lack of collaboration can really mess up an organization’s supply chain resilience. Just imagine what happens when employment levels aren’t accurately forecasted for service industries – chaos ensues! And don’t even get me started on manufacturers and retailers who end up with either too much inventory or none at all. It’s like a bad game of musical chairs, but with products instead.
Updating legacy solutions
The solution to all these problems lies in the magical land of cloud-based technology. Say goodbye to those clunky spreadsheets and never-ending email chains! Automation is here to save the day (and your sanity). With real-time procurement data and shared access to information, planning and sourcing teams can finally work together harmoniously.
In fact, 42% of high-performing organizations surveyed by HBR said that their planning and sourcing functions share real-time access to the same data. These companies are not messing around when it comes to collaboration – they’re putting their money where their mouth is (or maybe where their supply chain is).
Investing in collaboration-enabling technology can give companies a competitive advantage. Just imagine being able to share data seamlessly, improve efficiency, reduce costs, and actually have time for lunch breaks again! It’s like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow made out of spreadsheets.
Helping companies solve real-world problems
No two organizations are alike (just like snowflakes or fingerprints), which means they need customizable platforms that cater specifically to their needs. Cloud-native sourcing and planning software allows enterprises to scale up or down as needed without rewriting code or starting from scratch every time someone sneezes.
But wait, there’s more! These platforms need to be open, extensible, and interoperable. They should connect with other productivity applications and collaboration tools like a match made in heaven (or at least on Tinder). And let’s not forget about the magic of machine learning – it can optimize workflows and analyze real-time data for those sweet, sweet business insights.
One success story comes from NTT Global Sourcing, who replaced their outdated workflow processes with strategic sourcing software. This fancy new platform provides real-time insights into projected savings, streamlines collaboration with stakeholders, enables shared workflows using a common data set, and even leaves behind an audit trail (because we all know how much auditors love trails).
The happy ending
Improving collaboration between planning and sourcing teams leads to improved supply chain resilience and better efficiency. It’s like finding your soulmate but instead of romantic walks on the beach, you’re optimizing procurement processes together.
“When planning and sourcing are well integrated,” says Linda Dunn from Georgetown University, “good things happen.” You have a stronger understanding of your suppliers (maybe they’ll send you Christmas cards this year), facilitating good supplier relationshipSponsored Product management.
So there you have it folks – improving alignment between planning and sourcing is the key to operational efficiency and cost reduction. Plus, it might just save your sanity in this crazy economic climate we find ourselves in. Now go forth my friends, collaborate like never before!
For more detailed insights on the benefits of strategic sourcing and collaboration technology,
download the HBR–Analytic Services research report “Optimizing the Supply Chain by Aligning the Planning and Sourcing Functions.”