7 Step Strategic Sourcing Process

Why use a formal strategic sourcing process?

Experience has shown that the 7 step* strategic sourcing process developed in 2001 has stood the test of time and with variations, has become best practice. The main objective of strategic sourcing is to save money but other reasons include improving the acquisition process, supplier performance and minimizing risk.

Below is a summary of the 7 Step Strategic Sourcing Process and after that an explanation of each step.

7 Step Strategic Sourcing Process

Step 1 Profile the category
Understand everything about the spend category as the first step in the strategic sourcing process. This means defining the category and commodities in it. What is the current quantity used, types and sizes. Who are the users, where are they located, what are the processes used and who else is involved in the supply chain. Data must be documented in as much detail as possible as changes may be needed.

Step 2 Supply market analysis
Identify potential new global and local suppliers. Study the cost components of the product or service, and analyze the suppliers’ marketplace for risks and opportunities. Key raw material prices and other variables such as labor and transportation must be priced and calculations done of the suppliers’ cost elements.

Step 3 Develop the strategy
Deciding where to buy while minimizing risk and costs is how you develop the strategic sourcing strategy. Using a cross functional project team is a must. The strategy will depend on what real alternatives there are to the current suppliers, how competitive the supplier marketplace is and importantly, how open the users are to new suppliers.

Step 4 Select the sourcing process
The most common method of sourcing is to use a Request for Proposal process for soliciting bids. It includes product or service specifications, delivery and service requirements, pricing breakdown and legal and financial terms and conditions. Often the evaluation criteria are also stated.

Step 5 Negotiate and select suppliers
The first round of the negotiation process, after reducing the bids to the valid ones, is conducted with many suppliers asking for clarifications and more detail where needed. A good strategic sourcing strategy is to conduct multiple rounds of negotiations to get to a short list. The final selection is usually done by the team and signed off as per the approval process.

Step 6 Implement and integrate
Notify the successful suppliers and ensure that they are involved in the implementation process. Implementation plans vary depending on the degree of changes. The communication plan in the strategic sourcing strategy will include any improvement to specifications or process, changes in delivery or service requirements or pricing.

Step 7 Benchmarking and tracking results

This is a key element of the sourcing management process. It is the start of a continuous cycle, starting with benchmarking the current status of the commodity or category, monitoring the results and ensuring that full value is being achieved. Back to Step 1 to review the supply market again and restart the process in a constantly evolving marketplace.

To fully understand how to implement the sourcing process and plans, key in your details on the right to download the Free Report about Implementing Sourcing Process:

Strategic Sourcing Plans Made Easier With A Take Away Outline

This report provides an example of a step by step procedure for conducting the development of formal sourcing processes & plans together with a detailed outline of what typically would be in such a plan.


Return from Strategic sourcing process to Definition of Sourcing

Return from Strategic sourcing process to Purchasing Procurement Center Homepage

*Source: 2001 A.T. Kearney