During recent times, supply chains and supplier relationships have been tested like never before, putting the Chief Procurement Officer centre-stage and in the spotlight to find solutions as businesses try to protect operations, revenue and profitability. Throughout the Covid-19 crisis we’ve seen many procurement teams adopt a so-called “dash for cash” response (i.e. a classic cost-out initiative) - whilst not a surprising response to a crisis it’s a very short term in focus and easy to do. There are many levers available for such an approach (control demand, change the specification, limit usage, aggregate spend and so on). Yes, cost-out has the potential to yield results quickly and it will help the bottom line but it can do a lot of damage at the same time - the kind of damage that is difficult to undo.
We’re not saying that cost-out is intrinsically a bad thing, but how it is done is crucially important. It’s often used without fully appreciating the wider consequences - it hurts supplier margin and it kills the goodwill in supplier relationships. And as we slowly work towards post-Covid recovery, an organisation that just a few months ago acted with scant regard for its suppliers will probably not be a ‘customer of choice’ to those same suppliers going forward.
There can be little doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has been the most significant, and perhaps the most traumatic experience many of us will have had in our lives. It has and will continue to have a huge impact on us as individuals, as a society and as a workforce.
You’ve heard the story before, a new executive has joined the business, has ignored all processes and bought in ‘their favourite consulting company’ to review operations and they started 3 weeks ago….
Managing consulting and professional services organisations is a challenge almost every organisation grapples with. It is often compounded by the consulting company having contacts, relationships and often alumni at all levels of your organisation, meaning that, to manage them effectively, you also need to manage your own internal stakeholders effectively as well. Here we look at the common challenges faced in managing consulting companies and some techniques to help you.
In 11 years’ of research, State of Flux has demonstrated one very consistent feature of the way organisations manage relationships with suppliers: they fail to invest in technology. In the decade that has seen an explosion in business-ready cloud-based software such as Salesforce.com and HubSpot, it is remarkable that for 86% of organisations, the main software for managing information about supplier relationships is Microsoft Excel.
The best supplier relationships build value for both parties. The worst end up in court. That’s where car rental company Hertz found itself with Accenture. It had waited three years for the global consultancy firm to build a new website and mobile apps it was happy with.
Given the difficulty of its missions, NASA might be expected to lead in risk management. But in some cases it does not. The space agency has lost nearly $700 million after using faulty materials to build two rockets that were supposed to deliver satellites studying the Earth’s climate during 2009 and 2011.