3 Crucial Stakeholder Questions

Identifying and delivering on the needs of stakeholders is an important element in any successful strategic sourcing project.  Without appropriate stakeholder input, you’ll be left to guess at what exactly is required for a supplier to meet the needs of your internal customers.  Unintended consequences are likely, and can erode the value that your project delivers to the organization, even hindering adoption to the point of failure. 

There are three areas that stakeholders can provide unique insights:

1. Current service levels

It’s our experience that any attempt to switch suppliers without providing current service levels will be unsuccessful.  Plants rely on suppliers for much more than the delivery of products – services such as design and engineering support, vendor-managed inventory, VAVE, are indispensable.  Many times, much of the value that current suppliers provide has evolved over time and isn’t expressly documented in supply agreements.  The best way to find out vital services is to consult with various stakeholders.

Ask them:  “What services are current suppliers offering that need to be mirrored by other suppliers?”

2. Pain points with current suppliers

No supplier is perfect.  Unearth the difficulties stakeholders are encountering with current suppliers, and incorporate solutions to these problems in the requirements and KPIs of future supply agreements.  You’ll turn these solutions into project deliverables, increasing value to the organization and facilitating a smoother transition to new suppliers.

Ask them:  “What difficulties are you facing with current suppliers that should be resolved if we move the business to new suppliers?

3. Opportunities for improvement

Most stakeholders you interview will have held similar roles at other companies, exposing them to a variety of suppliers offering services that could benefit your organization.  Bringing these services to light may be as simple as tapping into the experience of your stakeholders.

Ask them:  “In your experience with other companies, did encounter any supplier services that could be a benefit here?

Stakeholder input is not just a nice-to-have in strategic sourcing—it’s a critical component of the process. Their insights help to identify the exact needs and risks, secure buy-in, and ultimately drive efficiency and value. Strategic sourcing projects become truly strategic when they encapsulate the knowledge and expertise of those they most directly affect.

Want to learn the eight critical success factors for strategic sourcing projects that deliver results?  Watch the Delivering on Strategic Sourcing webinar here.

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