In its journey of maturity, procurement has gone through dramatic changes, evolving from a tactical function to a digitalized, strategic process.
I recently read a story about an elderly lady finding a long-lost diamond ring whilst digging her vegetable patch. At first glance this isn’t so unusual, we’ve all heard similar tales. In fact, it happened to my mother only last year (this is true by the way). It’s not so surprising because people who wear rings and lose them tend to do so when engaged in an activity that might make them lose a ring. And if they return to that location time and again, and engage in the same activity, they occasionally rediscover their lost jewelry.
What was surprising and amusing in this case was that the lady in question discovered the diamond ring around a freshly-picked, full-developed carrot! Like a strange, bright-orange finger (one resists the temptation to think about Donald Trump at this point), the vegetable was sporting a gold solitaire ring in exactly the right spot, just below the knuckle. No wonder it made global news. What are the odds?
Surprisingly good, as it happens. When you know the treasure is there amongst all the mud and muck, perhaps the best way to retrieve it is indeed to send down a series of probing roots to see what they can capture. Of course, doing that randomly without a plan or a specific target can eventually yield results, as our vegetable growing octogenarian discovered after 13 years, but when time is a critical factor, leaving the discovery of treasure to an organic process is not sufficient.
In the constant hunt for sources of value in the earthen bulk of big data, procurement professionals have long had to resort to more of a farming (or gardening) approach. Picking the obvious targets (the lowest hanging fruit to continue with the metaphor) is easy. But pretty soon when all the produce has been harvested, it takes a different level of effort entirely to start digging to find the next items of value.
What we and some other companies are doing with software is creating the means to seek and locate the hidden treasure; without all the back-breaking digging and time-consuming raking through mounds of dirt. The latest opportunity identification and project planning software changes the game entirely. Instead of waiting for nuggets of gold to come to the surface naturally or having to spend months digging to find them, the latest generation of artificially intelligent procurement software systems are the B2B equivalent of a metal detector. SMART by GEP can show you not just where to look for savings opportunities but also the scope and scale of that opportunity. No digging, no waiting, just pluck the ready-to-action opportunities straight from the ground.
The news article didn’t specify the size of the diamond, but we know, don’t we, that it’s at least one carat.
Today’s supply chain needs to be flexible and agile, capable of responding quickly and positively to sudden changes — and that cannot be achieved t
Strategic sourcing has been the go-to approach for transforming procurement from a tactical to a strategic function, capable of delivering the kind