It would be difficult to find a procurement professional that would argue a manual based sourcing process is better than utilizing an eSourcing tool. eSourcing is more
efficient, improves quality, and generates better results. Yet eSourcing tool utilization and adoption is still behind the times.
Many organizations have “implemented” eSourcing tools, but what that really means is they have merely purchased the tools. It does not mean that the tools are consistently used. Therein lies the problem.
Most eSourcing tool providers will tell you the tools are easy and fast to implement. However, true implementation of an eSourcing tool is more than just making sure the technology works.
Change is difficult: Former President Woodrow Wilson once said, “If you want to make enemies, try to change something.” Even if you know it’s for the best, change is difficult.
Required change: As mentioned, change is difficult, and transitioning to an eSourcing tool is change. And, just like all change, it requires effort and work. Users have to relearn how to do things, explain to stakeholders why they are changing, and modify the process they have become accustomed to.
Lack of process standardization: eSourcing tools provide a great resource to improve consistency in your sourcing process. However, in order to do this, there must be a generally accepted sourcing process that is consistently followed throughout the organization.
eSourcing provides more visibility: A robust eSourcing tool and program gives management more visibility into the status, progress, and results of sourcing projects.
To address the organizational and people issues, procurement executives can:
Standardize the sourcing process: Ensure there is only one sourcing process for the organization and that it is consistently and broadly followed.
Ensure proper training: eSourcing tools have become significantly easier to use, but for most users it is still change. A comprehensive training should be three-pronged:
Explain Basic Functionality: A “how to” use the tool. This is typically done as a webinar and focuses on the technical aspects of how to work the tool.
Explain Best Practices: Another classroom-style training that focuses on best practices for eSourcing.
Provide Hands On Learning: The final piece of the training should be a hands-on training in the form of pilot projects.
Develop comprehensive documentation: Ample documentation will ensure that when users have questions after the initial training and pilot phase, they will be able to easily find answers and complete their projects.
Track the outcomes: Too often, an eSourcing program is rolled out with much fanfare, only to quickly fade into the background. To ensure successful adoption of eSourcing tools, it must be tracked and reported.
Addressing these organizational issues will significantly improve the utilization and adoption of your eSourcing tools.