Building a Successful Strategic Sourcing Program for Indirect Materials

In breathing life into its indirect sourcing efforts, medical devices leader Respironics is relying on internal change agents and external expertise


Respironics' procurement team has moved on from office print and, with support from Greybeard's subject matter experts, has engaged in projects addressing various IT categories (including desktop computers and cell phones), travel and entertainment, and energy, with more categories under consideration. The team also is looking to bring the knowledge and experience it has gained with indirects over to the direct side, again beginning with the definition of a standard process for sourcing the company's direct materials.

Reflecting on additional success factors for building a strategic sourcing program, Halloran suggests that starting with a pilot program provided good insights into the challenges involved in running a sourcing project. Based on the pilot and subsequent projects, the procurement team assembled a "lessons learned" document that they incorporated into the training process for staff involved in future initiatives. That helps ensure that all members of the team for each project understand the "ins and outs" of the process, as well as the commitment that they will need to make for the project to be successful.

But Halloran stresses again that this type of program can only achieve its goals when it combines the necessary expertise, drawn from outside resources when necessary, with a home team that is fully committed to the process. "Bob Rudzki's folks are here as a resource, providing support, but we really need to make it happen internally," he says.

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