Everything procurement delivers – from savings to risk mitigation to value – is predicated on having access to clean, trustworthy data. If this foundation does not exist or if it is shaky, then buyers don’t know how much the company is spending with a given supplier, let alone how they can improve the efficiency or impact of a given spend category.
While I was at the Ivalua NOW event in Paris, I interviewed Cyrille Naux, Purchasing and Supply Chain Vice-President at Chassis Brakes International, a multinational manufacturer of automotive brakes and brake components. He gave a keynote presentation about his company’s procurement and supply chain transformation journey – one that is still underway.
Unlike industries such as retail and professional services, which start by managing indirect spend and then gradually transition to influence directs, most procurement teams in the automotive space take a direct-spend first approach. Direct spend suppliers are large, global, and absolutely critical to the company’s operations and their competitive advantage. Strong executive mandates bring the management of direct spend within easier reach for procurement than ‘messy’, non-transparent indirect spend.
For Chassis Brakes, the first step to manage their spend was supplier consolidation: reducing direct spend suppliers from 12,000 to 6,000 (with an eventual goal of 2,000) and indirect spend suppliers from 10,000 to 4,000. They have also taken a hardline approach to supplier master data cleansing and standardization which led to a high quality supplier database they continue to work hard to maintain.