As the CoVest team continues to implement Supplier programs for our robust Member companies, we have refined best practices for rollout success. While each of our Supplier partners and individual Member companies are distinct in their own way, we’ve found there are specific aspects to the implementation process that result in success. While both Suppliers and Members are committed to a successful implementation and program launch, we’ve narrowed in on some best practices and lessons
learned to provide a roadmap for an effective category implementation.
Program Implementation Best Practices
1. Clean Data
This probably comes as no surprise to any of our Members: detailed location-level usage data is a key component to identify the category scope, validate the case for savings and prioritize site-level implementation work for the Suppliers.
Based on this data, CoVest will put together a comprehensive data package for our Supplier to ensure a smooth transition and successful implementation plan. Suppliers will receive:
- Clean price list
- Opportunity by site – To focus the Supplier’s efforts on key sites with the most savings potential.
- Usage by site – To assist the Supplier in building out their
distribution network by stocking unique items near members’ sites.
- Site list with key contacts – Square footage of location, head count, number of shifts, etc.
2. Corporate Champion within Member Company
Regardless of how a company purchases products, or if they will mandate new programs, support at the macro level is key. CoVest and our Supplier partners work directly with the Corporate Champion on the procurement team to assist in championing the new program among internal stakeholders and communicating with sites about the importance of proper purchasing channels and expectations. With every program, we want to communicate the savings potential and benefits to each location to encourage them to work with the new Supplier. Change management and influencing buyer behavior is the biggest challenge to overcome in every implementation.
3. Cadenced Meetings
Ensuring engagement from both our Members and Suppliers is critical for success. Regularly cadenced meetings allow the team to stay on track and orchestrate everything from site-specific needs to technology requirements and more. No amount of communication during this process is too much. As the lead liaison of the implementation project, CoVest serves as an extension of both the Member’s procurement team and the Supplier’s operations team by tracking progress, completing action items, addressing concerns, supporting the project goals, and following up on statuses.
4. Effective Communication Plan
Customizable for each Member, CoVest assists our Corporate Champion by providing a tailored set of communication materials created for each program. While each valuable communication piece supports the overall rollout strategy, our endorsement letters provide critical information for a successful program launch including:
- Announce the new preferred supplier partner program,
- Inform buyers know which type of products should be purchased from the Supplier
- Provide insight into the contract benefits
- Key contact information for their new Supplier representative.
Every implementation encompasses a variety of communication pieces to drive awareness and promote program benefits and adoption, including:
- Endorsement letters
- Who is “The Supplier”
- Category Overview
- Contract Benefit Overview
- Product Offering Guide
- VMI Solutions Overview
- Kick-off calls with the sites
5. Local Engagement
After the new program is announced, both our Members and Suppliers need local engagement for successful adoption of the category program. This includes on-site meetings to get the stakeholders introduced and onboarded to the program. In addition, our Supplier partners work with the local sites to address specific needs identified through site audits and assessments, waste walks and crib crawls. While data collection is a critical step in the implementation process, so too is a site visit. Visual assessments, site audits and relationship building at the facilities will often identify far more about purchasing patterns and needs than simply the data. These site visits oftentimes uncover additional opportunities for cost savings, operational efficiencies, and improved inventory management processes. At the macro level, CoVest and the National Account Manager stay engaged with the local representatives to track activities at a site level.
6. CoVest Reporting
Detailed compliance and savings reporting is a major component of CoVest’s implementation process and value we provide to resource-strapped indirect procurement teams. Compliance reporting gives us the unique opportunity to compare expected volume to actual volume at a site level. With the backing of our Corporate Champion, we can drill into site level data and uncover root cause issues as to why certain sites may be under-performing. With this information, we can rectify discovered issues to maximize savings potential for our Members. Our savings reports are created in a way that allows our Members to report actual hard cost procurement savings realized through our programs. CoVest has the ability to customize these reports if Member companies require.
In closing, it is important to remember that every implementation is different, but CoVest has identified key components for success in each category rollout. If your team has struggled with a program implementation in the past or is considering adding a category through a leveraged national supplier agreement, contact our Senior Implementation Manager, Alexis Pons, to take the first step toward a successful implementation rollout.
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