Since the time purchasing organizations have become an integral part of the corporate & strategic sourcing as a critical process, it has been drawing lot of attention from the top management. Loaded Purchasing Managers are faced with a pressure of making sure that their organizations sourcing practices are efficient enough to support them in achieving their goals with accelerated time-to-value & increased savings. Efficiency of the processes can be quickly realized if the best practices are in place, people are quickly finding information which they are looking for, stakeholders are always notified about the events, collaboration is happening easily, decisions-making is faster and results are consistent & justifiable. To simplify their life, many purchasing organizations have opted to structure their strategic sourcing processes in multiple phases or steps; each step represents one of the core processes of the sourcing for e.g. internal/market assessment or collecting supplier information.
SAP Sourcing offers a Project Management tool which provides a framework to model sourcing projects. The project management tool is extremely template driven so that organizations can create various templates that model either different sourcing category requirements or for example different sourcing projects depending on the value of the sourcing project. This template driven approach ensures a sourcing project that is consistent, efficient, repeatable, enforceable and auditable.
Many of SAP Sourcing customers have modeled 7, 9 or even 13 steps sourcing process in their projects. An example of a 9 Steps of Sourcing Project could be:-
Strategy Planning, Market Assessment, Vendor Evaluation, RFx, Awarding, Vendor Due Diligence, Legal Review, Contract Execution, Monitoring
Project serves a variety of purposes in the support of strategic sourcing, some of them are listed below:-
a) The ability to define and model your best practice / sourcing approach / sourcing methodology in a template based project management approach to support and/or enforce a high quality and compliant execution of sourcing projects
b) The ability to use the project management tool as a tool to define and maintain a sourcing pipeline
Many organizations use the project management tool to define their sourcing plan at the beginning of the year to provide visibility to management and throughout the organization but also to provide a tool to effectively manage the sourcing pipeline by changing priorities, resource allocation, etc
c) It serves as the tool for the category manager to report and track completion of important project tasks and milestones so that everybody in the organization knows about the status or upcoming tasks of a project. It acts as the project execution guide line with baked in document templates, notification alerts and tasks and milestones that require completion.
d) It serves as a container for all project related documentation. This documentation can be in unstructured format like MS-Word documents, Excel Sheets, etc or it can be in a structured format using the forms feature in the project management tool.
e) It serves as an auditable project record that can be made available to anybody in the organization and supports a sourcing process that is compliant with corporate governance rules.
f) It serves as a collaborative environment in which a virtual project team can share information and collaborate on the execution of the project
g) It provides visibility by creating a single searchable repository of project information and project history
h) It’s extensibility allows customers to create unlimited additional attributes for their sourcing projects.
Many of our customers use the project management tool not just to model sourcing projects but to model projects for any kind of activity that occurs in the sourcing organization and that should be managed as a project. For e.g. On-Boarding process for a new Tier 1 supplier or Annual Vendor Review & Due-Diligence Process.
Here is a very high level feature set of project management tool:-
- Project Templates for accelerating time-to-value.
- Schedule Tasks & Milestones creation with ability to define dependent events and ability to define responsible against those events.
- Configurable phases to define multi step processes to model organizations best practices.
- Configurable multi step workflow approval which can be defined on phases.
- Adding Individual or group of collaborators.
- Measuring Savings & Tracking.
- Creation of RFx, Auction and Contracts directly from projects.
- Various out of the box Reports such as Project Status report or Savings report.
- Collaborating using Discussion Board, Chat & Attachments.
- Ability to define questions (Forms) which can be assigned to collaborator to collect or research on project related information. Forms feature provide the ability to define process steps that team members must follow when completing milestones of the project.
- Robust Search to quickly & easily find out relevant projects
- Greater flexibility in extending the tool to model almost any type of business process.
SAP Sourcing Project Management tool is very closely integrated with the other tools of the product such as RFx, Contracts and Auctions which means that the purchasing manager can directly initiate these sourcing events from a Project and setup & track various tasks & milestones against these events. Also customer who are using SAP Spend Performance Management tool (SPM) for analyzing spend can identify opportunities across categories and create SAP Sourcing projects directly from there, this elucidates how SAP Sourcing Project Management tool can serves as a catalyst for complete Analyze To Contract processes.
I highly recommend existing or potential SAP Sourcing users to get a live demo of project management tool if they haven’t already, this tool has many many benefits some of which I have listed above. Hope you have enjoyed reading this blog :-).