How Well Do You Source?


Author: Margaret Gilbert 

How well do you source? We all too often use the same suppliers over and over again. By doing this we are operating very narrowly. The best practice is to take the time to source so there is choice and comparison.

In this way procurement practitioners can be aware of all available suppliers rather than suppliers who are not proactive and does not provide options or solutions.

Technology is a useful mechanism to source, so, why is there a reluctance to look at supplier alternatives? Time is often given as a reason as not sourcing regularly. It is often a case of business as usual. Ongoing sourcing will save time later. A good way of sourcing is to spend a hour per week so when you do need to find suppliers for specific product or service you have a base to work from.

Procurement requires choice and we also require procurement practitioners who can see the ‘big picture’ and who can think strategically. We do not want to get tied into the ‘same’ way of operating without moving procurement forward.

The danger of not sourcing is lack of choice and latest information on product or service. How often should you source? There is no right answer but frequent is better than irregular. This will save time in the long run when you are into the planning and preparation of documentation.

Managing face to face meetings with suppliers – it is useful to meet with suppliers with the aim of a discussion and receiving of further information. This assists in putting a ‘face’ to the organisation and an opportunity to ask further questions.

Suppliers should – and often do not – prepare for such meetings and be clear as to their key messages. This can be a lost opportunity. Asking for additional information or further information will reduce that occurring.

Useful checklist.

  1. Regularly source.
  2. Be open to all suppliers.
  3. Source and meet with suppliers to assess viability.
  4. Source for tendering purposes.

Issues – the main reason given for not regularly sourcing is: lack of time as well as business as usual.  I would suggest that sourcing becomes a part of your business as usual. Lack of time can be a factor but is worth undertaking which can help you later. Planning to source is just a critical as other aspects of procurement.

The benefits of sourcing is to be aware of and to make use of suppliers who are able to provide procurement requirements.  This takes you away from ‘same old’ and to be aware of how other suppliers can provide goods or services and ways of providing.  Of course this provides for knowledge that assists in planning as well as choice and comparison.


It is in our best interest to source so we can be confident that we have the best product and the best supplier. New ideas and solutions can come from new suppliers.

Choice and comparison should be the goal. In this way we can be clear that we have effective procurement.

Procurement practitioners should undertake sourcing and to be not tied into the ‘same way’ mould.  Keeping an open mind is essential.

Sourcing can also confirm our current suppliers which will give peace of mind in respect to supply, pricing and relationship.

“Unlocking Value through Collaboration” is of course the theme for the 5th Annual PASA Premier ConfeX on 11th & 12th October 2017 at Crown Promenade Melbourne. The programme has just been released and is pack with case studies and practical advice on how to work more collaboratively. Check out the programme here.


Margaret Gilbert is a New Zealand consultant assisting buyers and suppliers in the complex contract world by looking at the ‘whole of life’ contract world and working with both one on one and larger groups. She runs training courses, workshops. She assists her clients with being able to be ready for the contractual process. Read more about her latest book HERE.


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