Have you ever heard the old saying, "when everything is said and done, there is more said than done?"
How about “everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it?”
The common theme through the above examples of observational wisdom is the suggestion that talking about something is not the same as doing something about it.
Based on experience, I would not be off base in suggesting that this same theme applies to the subject of supply chain resiliency. In other words, in the world of procurement and strategic sourcing, the importance of resilient supply chains has been a point of discussion for some time.
However, what the COVID-19 pandemic and today’s increasing geopolitical instability have taught us is that our fruitful discussions in the past did not necessarily translate into meaningful actions and outcomes today.
Didn’t See It Coming?
When considering the significant disruptions in our global supply chains over the past two years – the most recent involving baby formula, we must ask ourselves how we got here. Didn’t we see it coming?
Let's face it, before COVID-19, how many of us would have predicted that our supply chains would, in some cases, snap like a rubber band stretched beyond its level of tolerance. Sure, we knew there were potential vulnerabilities in our supply and demand networks, but who expected such far-reaching, universal failures? By the state of things today, very few saw what was coming, and even fewer believed that we weren't ready for it.
Why were we so confident?
The problem wasn’t a lack of awareness regarding the importance of having resiliency and agility in our supply chains. We knew it was important. The issue was in our approach, or better yet, our interpretation.
Mary Zampino, Vice President – Content, Research & Analytics
SIG and Globality, the world’s only AI-powered Marketplace and Platform for B2B services, partnered to produce a study looking into why B2B services remains one of the greatest untapped opportunities to drive business value
Almost 70% of Globality and SIG survey respondents indicate that they are either proceeding as planned or are now accelerating their digitization initiatives.
However, bridging the gap between intent, action, and a positive outcome has never been an easy endeavor. In fact, and as pointed out in her latest book, Trade wars, pandemics, and chaos: How digital procurement enables business success in a disordered world, Dr. Elouise Epstein talks about how people are coming clean about the challenges with their existing or historical tech. In other words, organizations need more than just a desire to digitally transform the enterprise if they hope to avoid the same pitfalls that have undermined initiatives in the past.
The purpose of this article is to leverage the insights gained from the Globality and SIG survey to create a clear and more certain path to digital transformation success.
According to most survey respondents, there are several priorities when it comes to digitization in critical areas. These top priority areas include the rapid identification, selection, and engagement of suppliers, the ability to react with speed to market dynamics, and the capability to drive revenue through innovation.
While varying degrees of organizational maturity regarding procurement processes may result in some differences in the priority of identified objectives, there is generally no argument that the benefits of a progressive digital strategy are clear.
Recently, SIG had the pleasure of hosting Nitin Khorana, Vice President from Icertis for the September CPO & Executive Virtual Series. It was a very engaging discussion that lasted nearly two hours with tons of excellent takeaways. Let’s get into it!
Contract Intelligence Driving Visibility into Supply Chain
Nitin kicked off the day discussing the impact that COVID-19 has had on supply chains and bottom lines. As Nitin highlighted from one particular study, 97% of supply chains reported that their workforce was impacted by COVID-19. The resulting question from organizations became "how do I manage risk and how do I react quickly to maintain supply chain performance post-pandemic".
This is where Chief Supply chain officers have come to the forefront. These key players for the business have become increasingly recognized for their ability to deliver profitability & long-term business objectives. What helps these supply chain leaders elevate this supply chain performance? Visibility into their supply chains.
As Nitin points out, contract management plays a vital role in supply chain performance. Contract intelligence is able to set qualification benchmarks and processes for existing and new suppliers. By using blockchain framework delivers visibility into tier 2 and tier 3 suppliers by quickly being able to identify contracts that don't align with risk & category strategies.
A More Resilient & Efficient Supply Chain Starts with Contracts
Corporations are increasingly using their financial strength to address supply chain performance through contract-driven supply chain visibility and diversification. There are three ways that contract lifecycle management (CLM) can drive this visibility.
Anyone that has ever worked for SIG has heard me say that if we are going to fail, fail fast. And over the years, we’ve tried and failed at more than a few things. Truth be told, I don’t mind failing as long as we use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Fail Fast and Learn
I learned this lesson in my earliest days with SIG in 2008. We were coming to the end of my first Summit as the CEO and it had been an amazing week. For all intents and purposes, it had gone flawlessly. The speakers were incredible…the content was cutting-edge…the dialogues were advancing the industry…the property was beautiful…and our partnership with the hotel had been nearly perfect. I could not have been more excited by the energy from the event and was looking forward to capping it off with a bang during the final night.
I knew from personal experience…and from Agi (a beloved longtime colleague who had been with SIG since it was founded) that close to half the delegates – most of them providers – usually leave before the final night’s celebration, so it was an opportunity to relax a bit more with the practitioner members.
We had a beautiful evening planned for the smaller group. Buses were available to shuttle everyone to an offsite restaurant in Newport Beach, where we had local delicacies and signature cocktails ready for all. Or so we thought.
In my excitement, I spent the entire week hyping the final evening. I mean, of course I wanted people to stay, why wouldn’t I? (Side note: now very few people leave early because the surprise entertainment is always worth waiting for, so as you plan for our next in-person Summit this fall, arrange your travel plans accordingly!)
Every day, my inbox is bombarded with requests for feedback. Most requests I honor because I am a data nerd and I know there's some fellow data nerd behind the scenes who really needs the insight for their business case. Also because my husband is a PhD and we spent several years of our marriage dedicated to quantitative assessments - I have seen tears spilled over empty questionnaires.
Many survey requests I archive for later because I want to see how our partners and competitors collect data and use it to shape their programs. But mostly, I just think it is incredibly important to share your opinion when asked. (I could write a whole different blog on when NOT express your opinion, mostly from first-hand experience.)
This is a list of the top 7 reasons why I think people should respond to SIG surveys in particular and surveys in general.
SIG Member Input Drives Content Creation
As sourcing professionals, you are really good at understanding the value of your partnerships and ensuring you realize that value -- that is why we have strategic sourcing, negotiations, performance measurement and things like vested sourcing. Providing your input to SIG about what you need from our partnership is critical to us delivering the content, the speakers, the tools, the connections and the awareness you expect from us. You are paying for it, so let us know how we can serve you!
Expressing Your Opinion Is Good for Mental Health
Get it off your chest, share your concerns and join a community of people who are facing the same problems as you. We know your leadership, your customers and your team are all leaning on you to make 2021 successful. Telling someone about this can be extremely helpful, because it means someone is in your corner listening.
Mary Zampino, Vice President – Content, Research & Analytics