Tactics for solving data collection headaches

Date Posted: 22/05/2019 Category:
Share this post:

Tactics for solving data collection headaches

Date Posted: 22/05/2019 Category:

As procurement professionals will be aware, achieving cost reduction is a core function which relies on having trustworthy spend analytics. However, what do practitioners do when their requests for data from suppliers aren’t heeded? The Strategic Sourceror offers some pragmatic tactics to “cure a data collection headache.”

Suppliers who fail to respond to data requests have either neglected to follow through on the request after agreeing to it because it proved too time-consuming or difficult. Less often, they’ve refused to pull the data because it’s too difficult to retrieve, or they are anxious that their pricing isn’t competitive – a bad relationship with a supplier won’t help.

There are some remedies:

Give the supplier a template:detail precisely what data you seek. It eases the communication process and eliminates unnecessary back-and-forth.

Supply a clear timeline:after submitting your request so that suppliers can prioritise it well, it’s good practice to follow up, as it reminds suppliers that you’re serious.

Develop working relationships with internal users:by, for instance, asking for a primary sales rep or a new contact in the business unit who can assist you with pursuing your data request.

Know when to approach a more senior manager:most procurement pros know when a supplier is proving difficult. Don’t keep banging your head against that particular wall if it proves futile. Approach the next person up in management instead. Only do this as a final resort as it often causes conflict with the original supplier contact.

Play the ‘rival’ card:late suppliers might benefit from a gentle reminder that you are considering other options, such as a competitor who would provide the data you’re looking for. The prospect of not having a contract renewed can sometimes work wonders for supply relationship management if the supplier is falling short of expectations. Again, this is a ‘last resort’ tactic.

You may also be interested in...

In a new article for Spend Matters, procurement analytics expert Matti Sillanpää has called on procurement teams to extend their horizons when setting benchmarks with Big Data tech. Noting that many procurement teams continue to adhere to an internal perspective on spend, Sillanpää considers the focus on previous spend visibility based on internal taxonomies, supplier information and transactional data too insular when Big Data offers far greater potential. More data has been generated in the last two years than in the entire span of previous human history. But finding ways of extracting value from it has been notoriously difficult – that is, until Big Data analytics. It offers procurement pros the means to combine their internal procurement data assets, in real time, with relevant external data assets to benchmark their organisation’s performance against peer-groups. This is especially in the areas of cost reduction, sourcing savings, category management and many other core procurement functions. Most data still sits within silos, Sillanpää observes, but procurement Big Data analytics can liberate it, making it available for comparison. It’s not uncommon for procurement big data repositories to encompass spend data amounting to hundreds of billions of pounds spanning hundreds of millions of transactions that are constantly updated. This means that vast data sets can be managed in a way that was once simply inconceivable because the technology to analyse it didn’t exist. But it does now: machine learning data classification methods enable deep category and sub-category drill-downs across customer sets, anonymously and constantly updated. This transforms the benchmarking process: instead of the abstract, high-level practices based on survey data that characterised conventional benchmark reports, it provides up-to-the-moment, refreshingly actionable guidance on benchmarking performance against peer-groups. The new age of data-driven procurement benchmarking inaugurated by Big Data tech is set to revolutionise the nature of spend analytics, and the way overall spend is managed over the coming two decades. Firms that grasp the potential of Big Data first are going to reap a considerable competitive advantage.
October 5, 2018
How Big Data will revolutionise procurement benchmarking
Odesma logo stacked

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!