How 2 Workday Customers Leverage Strategic Sourcing to Navigate Uncertainty

The pandemic exposed the need for technology upgrades within procurement, an area that has been historically underserved when it comes to tech investment. Discover how two Workday customers used cloud-based tools to find creative ways to thrive during the pandemic.

The pandemic has charted a new course for enterprises across the globe, challenging businesses everywhere to act with agility as they respond to and recover from its effects. Seemingly overnight, many businesses had to transition to remote working while others were forced to stall operations amid supply chain volatility. 

According to the latest report by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), sponsored by Workday, the pandemic served as a catalyst for digital transformation, rapidly accelerating enterprise timelines for new technology solutions. With more enterprises moving to hybrid ways of working, companies need a way to connect their finance, HR, executive leadership, and procurement teams to stay aligned on corporate goals. 

The first volatile months of the pandemic uniquely affected procurement teams who were tasked with navigating supply chain instability, shifting consumer behavior, and sourcing hard-to-find necessities like personal protective equipment (PPE). In 2020 alone, 95% of businesses reported some form of disruption while 92% of executives admitted that their digital sourcing capabilities were less than best in class going into the first months of the pandemic.

Teams with robust digital capabilities were able to more easily weather the storm while also planning strategically for the future. See how two customers, featured in the CIPS report, leveraged Workday Strategic Sourcing to adapt quickly to shifting priorities and maintain continuity for the business.

Outpacing Disruption With Proactive Procurement 

In the case of a leading streaming company, procurement transformation was already a priority before the pandemic struck. While many companies were left scrambling to prop up remote capabilities, this streaming company was able transition fairly seamlessly.

A key piece in its digital transformation strategy was moving beyond manual processes and leveraging automation to improve efficiencies, gain visibility, and empower collaboration across the enterprise. Before deploying Workday Strategic Sourcing, the procurement team managed all requests for proposals (RFPs) via email and had to manually update stakeholders. This manual tracking caused delays throughout the process, and ran the risk of locking critical information within lengthy email chains. 

To supercharge its sourcing processes, the company chose Workday Strategic Sourcing in 2019 and built a centralized hub where procurement could automatically track savings and keep stakeholders in the loop. This increased visibility translated into increased trust between procurement and its business partners, says one company spokesperson: “Now that we have Workday, they [stakeholders] can follow the progress of projects themselves, without actually having to ask us all the time.” 

The pandemic has only reaffirmed the company’s decision to digitize procurement, allowing it to keep projects moving smoothly while the team is spread across geographies. Simplified supplier management also helped the streaming company keep in lockstep with its vendor partners and navigate unstable supply chains. With the ability to communicate shifting priorities quickly and efficiently to its supplier base, procurement is able to keep ahead of uncertainty.

“[Workday Strategic Sourcing] allowed us to continue as if nothing had happened; we just packed up the laptops and restarted from home.”

Mitigating Risk While Ensuring Supplier Compliance

For Australian government-owned water company WaterNSW, it was mission-critical to ensure it could continue providing essential services despite widespread disruption. This required constant collaboration with vendors amid labor and supply shortages. Additionally, Australia began enforcing its human rights legislation in 2021, which requires companies to ensure their suppliers have no instances of human rights violations in their value chains. To keep in compliance with this legislation, WaterNSW used Workday Strategic Sourcing to drill down into its suppliers— tier one, tier two, and beyond—and provide this data to the government. 

When the pandemic hit, WaterNSW was prepared. According to Salim Reza, head of sourcing at WaterNSW, “It [Workday Strategic Sourcing] allowed us to continue as if nothing had happened; we just packed up the laptops and restarted from home.” Digitization enabled WaterNSW to focus on strategic risk mitigation and collaboration. 

As a result of its procurement transformation, the team at WaterNSW drastically increased stakeholder engagement and strengthened trust with its business partners. Part of this is due to the visibility that Workday Strategic Sourcing provides. Because stakeholders can log in to the tool and see exactly where their projects are in the process, they are more motivated to partner with procurement. On the flip side, WaterNSW’s suppliers also appreciate the ability to track their RFPs and communicate directly within the platform.

Because the procurement team had the tools in place to weather the first unstable months of the pandemic, it was also equipped to act on strategic initiatives. A key goal now is to expand its existing supplier management system to track all key supplier partners and better manage its performance and overall spend. 

Sourcing and Procurement: A New Business Imperative

To remain competitive in a rapidly changing world, businesses must partner strategically with their sourcing and procurement teams. Those that don’t run the risk of falling behind. In the UK alone, Gartner estimates that investments in technology grew by 18.4% in 2021, a total of $304.9 billion — and the trend shows no sign of slowing. With advanced capabilities like real-time data insights, visibility into supplier performance and compliance, and sourcing automation, teams that invest in digitalizing sourcing and procurement are better able to adapt to changing business needs and help their organizations gain an edge over their competition. 

Explore the latest CIPS report, and discover why digital transformation is essential for procurement teams looking to thrive despite disruption.

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