Strategic sourcing saves organizations money. One of the keys to a successful strategic sourcing project is having a communication plan that utilizes a Stakeholder List, a Communication Matrix, and Critical Communication Instructions. I’ll elaborate on each…
Stakeholder List. As early as possible in the strategic sourcing process, the procurement professional leading the process should identify all stakeholders – including external ones like suppliers – that will be involved. In addition to compiling basic contact information in a list about each of these stakeholders, the procurement professional should assign each to at least one “Communication Group.” A Communication Group consists of people who will receive the same subsets of communications (e.g., status reports, in-person briefings, etc.) about the strategic sourcing process.
Communication Matrix. The communication matrix lists all forms of communications that will go out during the strategic sourcing process. Each communication will be assigned an “owner” – someone who is responsible for initiating or engaging in that communication. Each communication will also specify which Communication Group(s) should receive it.
Critical Communication Instructions. There are some communications that are particularly important or sensitive in a strategic sourcing process. Special instructions should be shared with all stakeholders to ensure that these communications are conducted properly. For these critical communications, the Communication Matrix should not be the sole way of imparting how communications should be handled. For example, suppliers should have a single point of contact for discussions about the request for proposal, their proposals, etc. Therefore, stakeholders should be advised not to engage in communications with suppliers who may be attempting the unethical practice of “backdoor selling” – getting information from, and trying to influence, buying organization employees who are outside of the procurement department. Suppliers also need to be advised that they will be disqualified if attempting to engage in backdoor selling.