https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BJ7lfhdCIAAzeZG.jpgYesterday I attended a presentation by Lance Younger from State of Flux Technologies on the topic of Information and Technology as key accelerators for SRM leaders.

The presentation was particularly poignant because he presented results from, a survey that State of Flux recently conducted with a number of industry leaders globally.

Peter Smith reported on the survey in Spend Matters in early November 2013 and it is available to participants for free but to interested parties for a fee. I thought that there were a couple of revealing statistics in Younger’s presentation that remain important markers for the SCN community to consider in this space.

SRM is more than the technology

The view that SRM is simply enabled by giving suppliers access to your internal systems and relevant data is a false one.

The recurring drivers for being more supplier relationship management focused is to reduce costs, reduce risk and improve performance.

While financial drivers continue to be strong motivators, business continuity is growing in importance and ultimately may outstrip the cost considerations – is the SRM technology you have, providing details of that risk element?

Another fact is that despite the presence of a supplier relationship management system, many organizations, in fact an astonishing 80%+ still do a great deal of management and planning of suppliers and vendors from the comfort of Microsoft Excel. The concern with this approach is that this data may never make its way back into SAP.

When viewed in the parallel context of growing transactional volumes and complexity and teams of increasingly younger and less experienced personnel, this all plays into the concerns of Supply Chain professionals.

SC Professionals are largely preoccupied with ‘keep the lights on’ initiatives rather than ambitious broad swathe solutions to solve all the ills of procurement and supplier relationship management and ultimately there are questions about who should own such initiatives anyway. Risk is the remit of the C-Suite to manage not normally the responsibility of procurement and logistics.

The good news for those companies that have taken the leap to solutions of various kinds and retain SAP as their system of record is that you don’t need to detract from your existing functionality or capabilities to be able to improve business operations. In fact you can critically evaluate these cloud and enhanced technologies if you have the time, in parallel to your ongoing work. The challenge is finding that time,

Maintaining a good set of records and data as it relates to vendor records, requisitions, purchase orders and contracts is always front and center of operations and came up in many of the presentations of people that spoke at eWorld,  This was aligned with the the conversations I have has with companies in the past. Companies that use Winshuttle widely in supply chain operations to maintain data in all of these areas as well as others.

Marilyn Monroe Condo - Square One  gracing the Mississauga Skyline

Optimizing processes for Canada’s most business friendly city

In fact one organization, the City of Mississauga, Canada’s 6th largest city with nearly three quarters of a million residents uses Winshuttle extensively with FB60 and F-47 and with some seven other ME transactions to create and change contracts, requisitions and orders.

Mississauga has been using Winshuttle since 2009 and uses it in a complementary way to the way that it uses SAP. For companies like them, savings come in many forms but most significantly in the way that it buys back time for supply chain personnel to spend time on higher value tasks like vendor evaluation and analytics.  In fact even for organizations that don’t consider themselves as having a sustainment challenge, Winshuttle can prove to be a boon for those potentially challenging SAP upgrades.

For Mississauga historically it took 3 support team members 3 weeks per instance (DEV and QA) to test every time a support pack was applied, amounting to 18 person weeks (90 person days). After considering Winshuttle for part of the regression testing it now takes 5 person days in DEV and 3 person days in QA, for a total of 8 person days to complete regression.  While testing is not necessarily Winshuttle’s greatest strength, the flexibility of the toolset demonstrated a huge saving of 82 person days that can now be reallocated to more cost effective initiatives.

For Mississauga the implementation of Winshuttle was the final catalyst for a move of all groups to the city standard MS Excel.

This meant significant reductions in the ongoing custom ABAP interface development effort, and increased the city’s time to market on interface requests; empowering SAP users with increased control over their data and the ability to make mass changes in an environment that they are familiar with.

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