While parts standardization and reuse are key drivers for limiting costs associated with new program development, they can also help decrease procurement costs and improve strategic sourcing partnerships. Of course in order to do so, the right people—notably the procurement department—must have access to the information required to guide their decision-making.
The primary challenges faced by Chief Procurement Officers include:
- Finding innovative performance and cost savings approaches
- Partnering with business stakeholders and breaking down business silos
- Taking advantage of analytics and Artificial Intelligence for an optimal experience
- Elevating the role of procurement to a trusted advisor for sustainable value creation
- Driving innovation while managing risks
Achieving all of the above starts with a detailed analysis of the total spend of the company, by categories, suppliers, countries, etc. Procure-to-Pay processes have been optimized by automating procurement and invoice payment systems. But Spend Analysis remains manual and tedious, whether when comparing the prices of parts and material ordered or identifying the main suppliers and their involvement in the total spend of the company.
Not surprisingly, the inhibitors to automatization are the same as those for engineering to optimize standardization and reuse. In particular:
- Poor data quality, such as inaccurate or incomplete descriptions of a part or its supplier;
- Multiple references of the same part found in different sources;
- Lack of expertise on standard parts requiring the intervention of more experienced personnel; or
- Disconnection with engineering
All of these factors contribute to the need for skilled persons in the procurement and sourcing department. While analytics tools can help, they are based mainly on a semantic approach and are therefore limited by the level of data quality.
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