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Column: Going Beyond Technology To Empower Organizations

Brian Miller
Brian Miller

Last updated on June 14th, 2024 at 09:34 am

by Brian Miller, Intesource, a PROACTIS company
Special to The Shelby Report

Technology has long been a valuable asset in sourcing projects. Sourcing technology can enable organizations to be more transparent, foster innovation, drive meaningful improvements in process efficiencies and effectively manage costs. But not all solutions can deliver the specific results you’re after, and the time it takes to choose, purchase and implement a major technology platform could ground a project before it even begins.

Simply stated, it takes a lot more than just a tool to drive the kind of impactful sourcing results that shape an organization’s growth and future. The people who power the technology and direct its use to align with the organization’s overarching goals are the foundation for success. A tool can’t make recommendations, answer the team’s questions or offer real-time guidance.

Only the right tool, paired with the right people to work alongside it, can create a customized sourcing program that creates value that permeates into every aspect of the business.

Are you ready for managed sourcing?

Managed sourcing is when an outside partner works in tandem with the internal sourcing team to manage a company’s sourcing processes. They bring in their own outside expertise and work as an extension of the internal team to make them more efficient, effective and agile, and take much of the heavy lifting and administrative tasks off their plate so they can focus on other key, more strategic initiatives.

When evaluating whether to adopt a managed sourcing approach, teams must first take an honest look at their internal capabilities, skills and goals for growth, and determine where a managed sourcing partner will be the most helpful. Ask yourself these questions: Do we know which categories we should really be taking to auction? What do our internal resources look like? How adept are we at sourcing complex categories? Are we looking to expand into new markets or develop a new product or service within the next 12-18 months? Knowing the answers to these questions is crucial for success. If you don’t know where you’re headed, you’ll have a hard time getting there.

Once your internal needs and business goals have been determined, it will be easier to evaluate if a potential sourcing partner is the right fit. Some key evaluators to consider include the provider’s category management expertise, process know-how, extensive knowledge of your particular industry and their ability to help you facilitate internal technological adoption. A good managed sourcing partner works with you every step of the way to create a customized approach, making a point of not only helping the procurement team achieve their goals, but equipping them to drive value through sourcing that meets the unique needs of the business.

Benefits of a managed, strategic approach to sourcing

With managed sourcing services, you have access to a team of seasoned experts who are there with you throughout the entire sourcing process, offering real-time advice based on their experience and taking the bulk of facilitating events off your plate. This reduces the need to hire or train additional staff and opens your team up to focus on more strategic initiatives.

Categories that once seemed very complex should feel less cumbersome with a managed sourcing partner, as these outside experts help teams turn complex categories into productive events by helping define product specifications, recommending which categories to take to auction and which suppliers to invite to bid. With this approach, you can extend your buying expertise for both direct and indirect spend across a variety of categories and expand your supplier network across several industries, opening you up to more opportunities to drive value for your business.

Overall, managed sourcing services increases your team’s efficiency by allowing you to re-focus your efforts from the tactical side of running events to adopting a strategic mindset that provides value and fosters innovation for the entire organization.

True, lasting success is rooted in more than just a tool

It takes much more than a tool or technology to deliver impactful financial results for the organization. Without the right people and processes to power it, a tool can’t drive change that will generate value for an organization that shapes its growth and future. Many vendors talk about the people, processes and technology methodology, but it really rings true with a managed services approach—true, lasting success comes from a sourcing partner who is truly invested in the success of your business and empowers you to reach your goals and drive value in every corner of your organization.

Brian Miller is a sourcing advisor in the grocery, retail and restaurant markets. As VP of services at Intesource, a PROACTIS company, Miller is in charge of all consulting services, including business discovery services, business value assessment and the execution of all best practices methodologies. Prior to joining Intesource in 2000, Miller spent more than eight years improving and managing store operations at Smith’s Food & Drugs and five years with American General, a consumer finance company. Miller is a Supply and Demand Chain Executive “Pro to Know” and has a degree in political science with a minor in economics from Utah State University.

About the author

Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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