The Elusive Source Plan

Finding examples of good source plans is a bit like being interested in Giant Pandas. Source plans are elusive, rare, and seem to resist most efforts to breed them in captivity.

We have to ask why this is the case. After much deliberation, it seems likely that source plans feel much like a university dissertation; a statement of something that is absolutely clear to us which will take a huge amount of time to create and is really of no use as the key actions have already been taken.

This feels like looking through the wrong end of a telescope. If, instead, we turn the thought process around and consider instead the reasons the business wants a source plan, then we can come up with some compelling reasons:

Capturing organisational knowledge; creating a sourcing strategy and implementing it takes a lot of joint effort. We can get more and longer term value from the research and strategy creation if there are materials available to others to show the thought process, market research, insights and outcomes. When we are routinely exposed to the concepts contained in a good source plan, then we are more likely to be able to replicate the  process of developing one.

Accelerating job handovers; when an individual takes over a new role, it would accelerate their understanding of the current position massively if a source plan was available. Market conditions, internal stakeholders, business requirements, procing approaches and analysis and all the other insights all available to view at the point at which it is most useful. Accelerating individuals in this way will save man-weeks of effort every year.

Demonstrating depth of thought; although we know we’ve really thought about the subject, demonstrating that to others is a powerful way of making our case, particularly if we can reflect others concerns and requirements within that analysis.

Sharing a compelling business case; a well written source plan will lead the reader to the inevitable conclusion that the business case which is put in place is correct and worthy of support.

Our challenge is to be able to build a source plan as a natural consequence of the work undertaken to identify the right strategy, not as a completely separate activity afterwards. This is why we advocate the use of a structured process with tools and templates used along the way; as with all writing, even blogs, building the content a page at a time, over a long period, is the way to ensure success.


Mark Hubbard is founder and co-CEO of Positive Purchasing Ltd.


About Mark Hubbard

I set up a specialist purchasing consultancy and a business focussing on seeking innovation. I work all over the world with clients, helping purchasing teams develop new ways of delivering value for their businesses. I love thinking about how purchasing works, and how it can be better, and I'd love to share some of those thoughts with you
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