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The Fundermentals of Sourcing with David Rickard of Microsoft

by David Rickard, Microsoft Procurement

David Rickard, Director of Microsoft Procurement discusses with us the fundamentals of sourcing before speaking at the GSA Symposium this June.

How have buyers of sourcing services adapted to the underlying changes of the industry? Are they driving the change or is technology and innovation?
I think buyers are being compelled to change because the expectations of our internal stakeholders are changing driven by the technology and innovation available to them in the wider marketplace. Buying “stuff” is easier than ever for a consumer who can make a purchase 24x7 with a couple of clicks and have it delivered the very next day. They cannot understand why when they come to work it takes a lot more effort and a lot more time. The smart procurement orgs are the ones trying to simplify the experience as much as possible whilst gather as much BI about the purchases and suppliers as they possibly can to maximise the business benefits of every £ spent in the future. Technology should be an enabler to a world class procurement organisation, not a threat.

How important is it to have a universal standard for sourcing, such as the global sourcing standard in an increasingly globalised and disruptive industry?
Very important. Without a comprehensive and universal standard for an org to follow each department or location within a company’s buying org could be doing totally different things, some adding value but some not. A well thought out and implemented standard can set the direction and guiding principles for the entire company and can be used as a guide for implementing rapid change as the group adjust to the ever changing internal and external landscape. However it is key that any standard implemented is built with the business as it’s priority and not built for the sake of having a standard. Areas where things have to be done because the “standard says so” should be eradicated and only requirements that offer true value should be included and monitored.

How would you describe the importance of having strong fundamentals in sourcing in an increasingly digital age?
Strong fundamentals are vital for the success of any sourcing organisation but especially in an increasingly digital age. Without a strong foundation of good processes, capable staff, timely BI and a clear strategy any of the additional initiatives to leverage the digital age will fail. Digital should be the enabler to the sourcing organisation who should be looking to leverage new capabilities to offer additional value and impact to the company.

How do you build a successful sourcing contract in the age of the digital economy?
I am not sure if there is a perfect answer for this right now as many of us in Procurement are still working through what a true digital economy is and the impact it could have on sourcing. However the fundamentals of sourcing contracts, such as having clear deliverables and expectations of the supplier, will continue to be key in any age.

David will be speaking at the GSA Symposium this June, click here to learn more and book your place at the must attend event of the year for the sourcing industry.


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