Walk into any doctor’s consulting room and mention a small ailment and invariably, you will end up with a requisition containing a list of requirements. After a small amount of blood-letting on your part and the running of a series of tests on the laboratory’s part and a large amount of resulting data – in printed format – the doctor is enabled to draw valuable conclusions on the status of your health. Then, the doctor initiates some remedial action – if required or gives you a clean bill of health and sends you away smiling. If only things were as simple and easy for Contingent Workforce managers when they want to test the functioning of their suppliers!
Given the thousands of data points in a Contingent Workforce program, deciding the numbers we need to track provides one kind of challenge while gathering all the data to populate a supplier scorecard provides an entirely different challenge!
We have earlier discussed on methods to choose the components that need to be incorporated in a supplier scorecard. The invariable question which follows in anyone’s mind is about the ways and means that need to be adopted for the collection of the required data. This is an important part of the total exercise if we really wish to have actionable results from our scorecards.
IT Resources: Some of the data will be readily available and easily gleaned from the IT resources in us and it would be a good idea to brainstorm about this as a team and decide whether the available data will be sufficient for our purposes or any further data gathering will need to be attempted to supplement the information.
Questionnaires: Preparing a questionnaire is another way of collecting the required data. They may be circulated to the respondents through the ERP system or be mailed/emailed. These may be addressed to the various internal customers who are in some way involved with the output provided by the supplier and thus would be able to provide valuable inputs on the supplier’s performance. Involving cross-functional participation for either qualitative or quantitative inputs makes a lot of sense because they would be highly interested in seeing an improvement in the supplier’s output and also, would be in a position to provide an authentic evaluation. The suppliers may also be asked to fill in questionnaires which draw out some of the information required from them. Let all the information gathering have a sense of purpose, direction and try not to keep the outcome a matter of suspense or create unnecessary tension among the participants.
Use Discretion: It may also be a good idea to decide whether we want to measure all our suppliers or only those with whom we have reason – like performance issues and complaints – to do so. In other words, we may not really bother to evaluate the suppliers who are unanimously voted to be of value to the organization. Of course, one size does not fit all and this decision depends entirely upon the way the company’s relations with its suppliers and there should be clarity in planning such a move with due consideration for possible repercussions.
Evaluation of the data collected, for actionable inputs, is a huge task which needs to be considered next.
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