Productivity is one of those management terms that is over-used and yet frequently misunderstood. As there are so many productivity measures available, ranging from intricate and complex multifactorial mathematical models to simpler, single-factor measures it’s admittedly difficult for business leaders to get a handle on improving them. The measures and indexes can change based on data availability and even the purpose of the measurement itself – giving rise and susceptibility to bias. Some of what really matters in your business can’t be quantifiably measured.
With this complexity in mind, and to give some useful and insightful guidance, we tend to look at productivity and supply chain performance from a basic point of view of output vs. input.
How can you do more for less?
Over the past decade, we’ve been working with supply chain leaders in a multitude of different industries that have approached SourceDogg with a huge and varied array of challenges but are all united in trying to grow their business or improve performance or profitability in some way.
Their individual challenges, when blended and amalgamated fall into 4 areas for improvement that SourceDogg as a supply chain software platform, has helped them achieve.
It may seem like an obvious way to increase performance, but focussing time and attention on what matters to your organisation is a first step in improving performance. Unless it matters to your bottom line or your customer – then don’t focus on it. A lot of time is lost on unimportant factors and in meetings discussing but not deciding.
Furthermore, this lack of focus extends to your suppliers too. Without clarity on what matters, you can’t expect alignment and engagement with your goals from your suppliers. In a mutually beneficial relationship, your success is their success – so make sure they know what good looks like!
This is where strong supplier relationships come in, facilitated by Supplier Relationship management Software like SourceDogg. We’re seeing more clients start to use methodologies like OKR’s and a more data-driven approach to supplier management. This planning, goal-setting, doing, checking, and acting (on the results) form the foundation for continuous improvement and avoiding being stuck in a carrot vs. stick war with your strategic supply partners or having the task to source new suppliers which can also pose huge problems.
It feels like communication is one of those perpetual management problems. How do you get a group of humans, often with conflicting objectives, personalities, styles and skills to communicate more effectively?
We don’t have a magic bullet for this, but we have experienced many of our customers overcome silo mentality by adopting the focus mentioned above alongside our platform to gain a level of concise clarity from their communications. This applies to both internal communications and external communications
From an internal point of view, having all of your supplier data in one place makes a massive difference in the amount of inbox traffic all teams are having to deal with. But also having standardised processes for buying events that are based on logical methodologies and flow dependent on purchase categories or level of spending all help smooth communication friction or reduce the amount of admin and busywork associated with straightforward requests.
Externally, by having focused goals and metrics for suppliers communication should be altogether easier. Everyone knows where they stand, what they’re working towards and can get on with what they do best. SourceDogg’s supplier self-service portal also reduces the sheer amount of emails and chasing required to get the latest documents or certifications uploaded, meaning more time can be used discussing and working on ways to improve the business or responding to last-minute bid requests that rely on these items.
We’ve already hinted at the benefits of standardisation above in terms of communication efficiency but there are other reasons why standardising your sourcing and selection process yields massive results in productivity and performance.
From a labour-cost point of view, if you’re using a supply chain software platform like SourceDogg your team won’t be forced to duplicate tasks such as data entry into multiple locations or complete buying events unnecessarily if they already fit a pre-defined template. The impact of this saving is huge.
Beyond labour costs, the benefits of standardisation are often felt as improvements in quality or reduction in error – both of which can improve profitability massively.
Our final way to increase supply chain productivity for performance for profit lies outside of price and process and is all about people. We’d like to approach this frm an employee and management/leadership perspective.
Are your people empowered to use their core skills?
We’ve found one of the main benefits of implementing a tech platform to employees in the supply chain operation is that they are empowered to do their jobs better without process getting in the way, without duplication, admin and busy work. Sure, SourceDogg doesn’t eliminate this, but it has helped all clients regain lost time and frustration across data entry and retrieval, process management and supplier relationship management too. Employees will be able to add more value than ever before and therefore drive better performance for the business. Your business is paying them to add value, solve problems and come up with new ideas… not fill in spreadsheets.
Does management have what they need to guide the business to success?
We know we’ve said that not every productivity and performance factor can be measured – but having a strong, evidence-led, data-backed approach to supply chain management is key for competitive advantage in 2022.
No more anecdotes and biases and much more insight to augment your experience and gut feelings!
When you’ve got all of your data together in one place, whether in a Supplier Master Data platform or a Supplier Relationship Management module management teams and leadership groups can work together to take definitive action. This data becomes insightful knowledge and creates a wiser approach to achieving your goals. We’ve recently recorded a webinar on how data becomes wisdom and how to employ this in your business.
However you’re measuring performance and productivity, we’re confident that revisiting these 4 themes in your business will yield results.
When looking deeper into these topics, it’s also clear that implementing a technology platform like SourceDogg can massively accelerate your progress. Our platform helps create a shortcut to success by alleviating those stumbling blocks that hold you back from gaining focus, improving communication, implementing standardisation and empowering your workforce.
Talk to one of our experienced team today and get a personalised demo to see how SourceDogg helps your business achieve greater productivity and enhanced performance.