Procurement data collection must be ‘intuitive’ for employees

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
11 June 2014

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12 June 2014 | Paul Snell

The collection of ‘big data’ in procurement should be intuitive for employees – but this is easier said than done in practice.

This was the consensus among participants of a roundtable discussion held in London yesterday by Optimum Procurement on the use of data and analytics in purchasing.

Attendees agreed one of the difficulties when it comes to data, was ensuring its consistent collection and capture. Ideally data could be collected without any extra effort needed from the participant, such as when you make a purchase on Amazon, for example. If that is not possible, the person must see some benefit from the collection, or is unlikely to be incentivised. The consensus was that trying to force stakeholders to collect data that would not be natural, or traditionally part of their role would not gain traction.

“Often when procurement organisations decide to take up something like analytics, it takes a certain amount of bravery because you are moving people away from what they’ve done in the past, and you also might be steering people toward something they don’t particularly like and don’t particularly want to do,” said Optimum Procurement’s chief knowledge officer Gerard Chick.

But there was a warning that making it ‘intuitive’ makes collection sound simple, but - particularly in large organisations - questions remain about standardisation and who takes ownership of data to ensure it is correct.

A practical suggestion was to use suppliers to help with the provision of data, and to help forecast and model scenarios for your organisation.

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