Thursday 28 November 2013

What if Twitter was your Sourcing Tool of choice? (Part 2)

By Steven Low

So how on earth could the twitter approach work? Well, to be on twitter you create a profile of some description. This could be where suppliers fill up all the boring bits of information about themselves. The covers off the upfront chunk of an RFI or RFP straight away! Buyers would essentially do the same thing on their side. Next, they could start tweeting in real time about Sourcing opportunities coming up – in less than 140 characters of course. Suppliers could ask questions back instantly about exactly what and wasn’t required.
Now, if you are off to build an aircraft carrier, I doubt this approach to sourcing would work very well. However, a lot of the repeat purchases or simple transactional sourcing elements that make up any business can easily be conducted. Your suppliers would start following companies that they supply and buyers would start to create supply chain lists of like-minded suppliers so in future they can direct tweets (sourcing opportunities) at a targeted set of organisations. Sprinkle liberally with hashtags to make everything more searchable and I think we are off and running!

Sadly, I think the limitations of twitter may be a step too far for procurement. We still have to make sure we buy the right product, at the right price, at the right time, to the right terms and conditions. Not possible in 140 characters I would argue. However, I think it does give a nod to where we should be headed. Getting all of our supplier information in an easily searchable way and not asking them time and time again for information that we may not even read every time. Secondly, I think if we can slim down and be more efficient with the requirements to answer RFP’s for the average supplier (it costs them to take time out of their business to answer each opportunity – sometimes having no clue if they are in with a shout or not), then even though it’s not 140 characters, it’s not the new testament either. Does that make twitter the son of ‘LEAN’ thinking? Another topic for another day.. #twittersourcing. #tweetpurchasing

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