Managing the longtail of suppliers is a big challenge for many biopharma procurement teams. Without strong data best practices, compliance and spend management goals are difficult if not impossible to reach.
To support procurement teams, we put together a list of 6 best practices when it comes to managing longtail supplier data.
1. Centralize data storage.
Ensure there is one main source of truth around vendor data. Too often, information is scattered throughout the company in different files and on different computers. When people need to use the data, they often find parts of it missing. When employees leave the company, some institutional knowledge about where to find certain types of information leaves with them. Avoid these problems through having one central location for data storage and training your team members to use this from the start.
2. Standardize data formats.
Formatting the data in a standardized way makes it easier and more possible to efficiently and accurately analyze the data. Decide on conventions upfront with consideration for upstream inputs and downstream impacts and train all employees on using this format. Particularly when it comes to vendor data, the inputs from different suppliers can make the raw data naturally very varied, so it is especially crucial to standardize this raw data to make it more usable to reach your company’s goals.
3. Leverage technological tools.
Inevitably you already have non standardized data spread throughout disparate parts of the company. To clean this data and make it ready for the next use, leverage tools like parsing algorithms and text mining software to extract your desired types of data from a wide range of sources and convert features like units into standardized formats.
4. Name a data owner.
Given how cross functional supplier interactions can be, vendor data can often suffer from a challenge of having too many cooks in the kitchen so to speak. Designate a primary data owner, preferably a single person or a specific set of people. Designating even an entire department can lead to a lack of clear ownership, things falling through the cracks, or double work being done unintentionally.
5. Layer on localized knowledge.
Data is only one of the many tools procurement teams have at their disposal. Gather, analyze, and draw insights from the data but layer on local knowledge. Bring in people with market and geography specific expertise to contextualize the insights drawn to refine your vendor management and procurement strategies.
Every insight exists in a context. What makes sense as an avenue of analysis or an implication for one type of supplier may not apply directly for others. Align with your team and your company on best practices around segmenting your vendors and execute on this in your data structure accordingly.
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We hope these tactics are helpful as you level up your procurement organization. To learn more about how ZAGENO’s platform can help you execute on these fronts and more, book a free consultation.