February 2022 E-Connect Daily
Procurement expert on outsmarting supply chain issues
Sarah Scudder is a self-proclaimed supply chain nerd. She is a sustainability nut and lover of all things Bradley Cooper. She’s been trying to get a dinner date with him for over two years. The struggle is real.
She’s good at loading the dishwasher but can’t keep potted plants alive. Green is her favorite color. Scudder hosts a Voice of Supply Chain show that features people in supply chain doing extraordinary things. Currently, she serves as chief marketing officer for SourceDay.
She also hosts monthly Manufacturing Woes and Women In ERP shows and enjoys speaking about marketing and supply chain related topics. On LinkedIn, she posts about supply chain daily. Follow her hashtags #ManufacturingMaven and #WomenInERP to get daily manufacturing and ERP news.
What has been the impact of the supply chain issues on procurement professionals?
The bad: It’s caused people to feel overworked, hopeless and stressed. It’s forced buyers that rely on emails, spreadsheets and doing manual work to work a lot more.
The good: It’s forced people to innovate, get creative and leverage technology to automate manual tasks. It’s helped buyers see the value of establishing collaborative relationships with suppliers and change their thinking from “I” to “WE.” More procurement professionals are partnering with suppliers to innovate. There’s a pivot away from a focus on cost/price to value.
Can operators plan anymore? How far out can they plan and why?
Operations can and should plan. They need to factor in longer lead times, shipping delays and the fact that they may need to use multiple suppliers to get parts and materials.
Operators should pay more attention to the first mile. The first mile is getting your parts, materials and/or products. First mile issues result in production delays. Without having your first mile in order, the last mile doesn’t matter because you won’t have any product to ship!
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the supply chain. How are procurement professionals coping?
Smart buyers are implementing technology to automate manual tasks to free up internal resources and help with labor shortage issues. If work is being done via email and spreadsheets can be automated, DO IT!
How are these professionals and their corresponding companies reimagining procurement?
Moving from proactive to reactive and tactical to strategic. Procurement has earned a seat at the executive table and is getting the budget to hire smart, strategic and business-minded people. Procurement is becoming less about shopping for the best price and more about finding the best solution for the business.
Some procurement groups have even turned their departments into revenue generating departments.
I think procurement needs a new name—something cooler and more hip!
What, if any, processes that are being used to manage the supply chain issues will be adopted going forward?
Using technology to automate manual work, hiring people that are more tech and data savvy, a focus on sustainability and having multiple supplier options to prevent reliance on a single supplier.
Can you share some ideas for brand owners who want to start managing their marketing supply chain process?
For procurement to win over marketing, they should focus on small wins. Take on projects for things that marketing isn’t very attached to like freight for shipping materials to and from events or business cards. After getting a few small wins, marketing may start reaching out to procurement.
Present new ideas and solutions to the marketing team. They are very busy and procurement can add value by researching solutions/supplier options and helping marketing create a short-list of suppliers.
Know how to buy technology. Marketing technology (martech) is a big spend. And growing.
Don’t mention cost. Focus on adding value and how something will help to generate revenue.
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