Complex procurement

Five tips for a successful procurement of complex services or products

Complex sourcing processes such as selection of outsourcing partner often represent large economic values and should reflect interests of many stakeholders. Often these types of sourcing processes are not something companies do on a regular basis which means they lack the routine and the experience to predict and navigate around the most common mistakes. Here we share our key success factors for successful sourcing (and eventually implementation) of complex services and products.

Author: Richard Cecchini


Complex procurement

1) Objective – Make sure that internal stakeholders agree on a common objective before initiating the procurement process. Translate this objective into specific procurement targets in order to facilitate steering and navigating between prioritizations throughout the whole process

2) Challenge – It is not uncommon to meet opposing or unreasonable demands from internal stakeholders. It is important to challenge these demands and define clear priorities early in the process, otherwise this tends to create difficulties later during the evaluation process. Also, challenge the organization not to define requirements for the procurement strictly based on the existing solution or its functionality, rather direct focus to what the procurement intends to solve and the value it should create

3) Clarity – Having a clear internal picture of the requirements and the evaluation criteria is of course essential, but it is just as important that the suppliers have a clear understanding to be able to submit the best possible bid. Be transparent with the evaluation criteria without being too precise (maintaining flexibility during the process) and ask the suppliers what information they need to respond correctly and on time. Also, ask a third party to critically review the tender documents to ensure that they are clear also from a supplier perspective

4) Dialog – The suppliers, both new and existing, are often the most important source for identifying new opportunities and for creating a good knowledge base. It is usually valuable to involve suppliers already in the design of the solution and the requirement setting – partly to qualify the suppliers, but also to early discover new approaches which might not have been captured from start otherwise. By having a dialog and guiding the suppliers to the best possible result, conditions are set for a win-win situation, which in turn is a pre-requisite for a successful implementation phase

5) Focus – It is not unusual that the process and thereby the results are delayed, or that opinions and decisions steer the procurement away from the initial objectives. By applying clear milestones, decision forums, and a designated project manager that leads the procurement from start to end, it is more likely that the procurement process is completed in time with maintained focus

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