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Category: Procurement and Sourcing

Supply Chain News: Accenture on the Six "Distinctions" that Drive Procurement Excellence


Keys to Taking Procurement to New Levels


Jan. 9, 2018
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Recently, the consultants at Accenture published a short report on what the company calls the six "distinctions" that drive procurement excellence.

SCDigest summarizes each below:

Great Procurement Relentlessly Pursues Measureable Financial Impact: This is the bottom line, Accenture says - optimizing and pursuing every ounce of value.

Supply Chain Digest Says...

You are your reputation: When it comes to regulations, laws and industry compliance, the responsibility lies with you – not the supplier.

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It starts with strategically influencing the vast majority of spend. You can't drive value if the pie is too small. Next, it's about maximizing the value of that spend – not just driving the lowest price, but reducing demand. In the end, it's about getting the best price and solution and ensuring this value is achieved, not lost, in execution.

Accenture says that there are four steps to transforming the image and impact of procurement through finance metrics:

1. Strategically influence the vast majority of spend globally - The more spend procurement touches, the bigger the benefits to both procurement and the entire business.

2. Reduce demand - Challenge the business to scrutinize every budget item and whether it will drive business results.

3. Harness benchmarks and data - Harness real-time market intelligence and benchmarks to achieve the best price/value balance.

4. Drive sustainable results - Create a continuous, closed-loop process that ensures that all identified and negotiated cost savings are captured.

Great procurement enables strategic business objectives: Be the go-to resource, Accenture says, building a reputation for yourself as a critical contributor that enables strategic objectives.
If you do, you'll be a key synergist for mergers and will spur innovation by tapping up the right suppliers and partners. Your spend strategy is more than just savings goals, but also includes sustainability metrics such as carbon footprint and recyclability.

Accenture says there are three essential skills that can set procurement apart:

1. Merger Synergies - Many organizations fail to engage the voice of procurement at the outset of merger and acquisition analysis.

2. Sustainability - All too often, management commits in advance to sustainability goals without knowing how practical these targets are, and how to achieve them.

3. Innovation - Organizations that keep suppliers at arms-length, may gain enough information to secure accurate price quotes, but miss an opportunity to discover best practice from the best in the industry.

Great procurement protects the organization from risk: Procurement managers are a shield for the organization, Accenture says. What is needed is a vigilant 360 degree process, assessing and quantifying risk at every step. Safeguards are put in place for supplier fraud and failure, non-compliance and reputational risk.

Accenture offers four ways to improve risk management:

1. Segment and prioritize - Organizations that proactively segment risk gain the insight to prioritize those that matter most, and identify the suppliers and components that are critical to effectively and efficiently protect the business.

2. Trust and verify - Risk measurement is never a one-time event. To remain effective, you need to create a process that keeps data current, useful and actionable.

3. Put technology to work - Technology allows you to reduce the complexity surrounding risk monitoring and assessment, and visually represent data in ways that executives can quickly understand and accept.

4. You are your reputation: When it comes to regulations, laws and industry compliance, the responsibility lies with you – not the supplier. In today's progressively complex and globalizing markets, your reputation is increasingly tied to and influenced by the actions of others.

Great procurement is proactively embraced by business functions: With a thorough understanding of other business functions, procurement managers are able to show they are a critical business partner by factoring in their needs too. Working seamlessly and collaboratively with other stakeholders, and even informing new strategies in their disciplines, will place you in a pivotal position.

Accenture offers three ways to build those essential relationships:

1. Open doors to new relationships - Procurement first needs a deeper understanding of the challenges facing the individual function. With that understanding, procurement can work to establish a rapport built on sound advice, timely insight and, above all, freedom of choice.

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2. Expand your value - By proactively sharing your insights - from within and outside the business - you can help others determine the most efficient organizational structures, access key data to decide or establish the best balance of work for suppliers and internal teams, and shape compensation models that maximize value for the entire business.

3. Embrace the new - By working across multiple units and regions, and treating suppliers more like essential partners, you can maintain a longsighted understanding of the opportunities and challenges ahead, and become the go-to source of best practices, knowledge sharing and the most rewarding stakeholder innovations.

Great procurement brings powerful insights and analytics that inform decisions: Procurement managers should be fully “quantified,” Accenture says, using analytics tools across categories, compliance, payments and supplier metrics to bring eagle-eye visibility to the organization. They should also be able to analyze spend data to drive maximum savings, identify new opportunities and informed conversations.

Below are two keys:

1. Understand the analytics landscape - Be familiar with the differences between descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive analytics.

2. Use analytics to turn insights into action: Opportunities include spend analytics, category analytics, compliance analytics, and payment analytics, and supplier risk and performance analytics.

Great procurement drives digital automation, efficiency, agility and speed: Procurement managers must go digital, Accenture says, with processes that are automated, adaptive and well-protected through an end-to-end suite of technologies. As a result, human error is minimized, compliance improved, and real-time visibility achieved. Ultimately, using innovation technologies can enable full control over procurement.

Here are some key strategies:

1. Acceleration through automation: Leading procurement teams use bots to automate transactions and eliminate unnecessary human touches, allowing colleagues to focus on more strategic analysis, making better, faster decisions.

2. Provide everything - on-Demand: and eliminate process steps. At each step of the buying process, procurement and business stakeholders get the right tools, templates, cheat-sheets, and playbooks to select the best suppliers, negotiate the best deal, and find the frameworks for making the best business decisions, quickly.

3. Bring control and effectiveness to the process: By connecting digital platforms from beginning to end, catalogs and contracts are digitally enabled; and approved buying channels are designed to present supplier products and services to the buyer, with the right prices, terms and conditions.

4. Shape a great user experience: Stakeholders now expect the same intuitive ease of use at home and work. Procurement taps leading technologies, such as digital agents and insights applications, to provide the information-rich experiences stakeholders want.

What is your response to Accentur's procurment "distinctions?" Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.


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