How to Find the Best Suppliers for Your Business through Strategic Sourcing

Suppliers for Your Business

Strategic sourcing is a method of sourcing that entails employing various strategies when sourcing products or services. Strategies are chosen based on the real-time circumstances of each acquisition and are influenced by factors such as spend value, category risk, and supply market character. 

Pillars of Strategic Sourcing

Procurement Process StageKey Benefits
Data Collection and Spend AnalysisCentralizes supplier data for clear spending visibility.Opportunities to streamline vendors and costs.
Supplier Discovery and RFxAccess to supplier data via digital business networks.Request RFPs and have suppliers compete for business.
Negotiations and ContractingAutomated tools for faster workflows and digital signatures.Creates an electronic contract repository.
Implementation and OptimizationAccelerates processes, and builds feedback loops for optimization.Constant evaluation of suppliers for best agreements.

Process of Strategic Sourcing

  1. Identification

The first step is to identify the sourcing category or commodity, which includes product and service volumes (quantity, types, and sizes), current prices and suppliers, and specification details. Don’t forget to examine your users – who they are and where they are – as well as the departments involved in the supply chain.

  1. Market Analysis

Perform market analysis to critically understand your buyer power and category in order to position the sourcing strategy. Then you decide which strategy approach is best suited to the type of service you’re sourcing. Once you’ve identified a product’s and service’s segmentation, you’ll have a clear vision of how the product and service impact the overall business, and you’ll be more confident in the strategy and partner relationship you should implement.

  1. Minimize Risk and Cost

It is an important step in determining where and how to purchase while minimising risk and cost. You should consider both existing and potential suppliers to get the most out of our supplier pool. Establish your company’s goal and minimum supplier requirements, then list the selection criteria that are best suited to your needs, capabilities, and resources. A cross-functional team comprised of key stakeholders is strongly advised.

  1. Communication

Strategic sourcing requires communication with suppliers. Following negotiations, you may be able to choose which suppliers to work with. Make certain that you notify the successful suppliers who will be involved in the implementation stage. The tighter your cooperation and partnership should be, the more complex your product. It is critical to include suppliers in meetings or discussions during the implementation stage, ensuring they are up to date on the most recent changes and updates.

  1. Tracking performance

Many people overlook this step, but skipping it is a huge mistake. It is critical to track the supplier’s performance over time, beginning with benchmarking the current state of the product and continuing to monitor the results to ensure the goal is met. As a result, you can quickly identify a problem during implementation and notify your supplier to address it with the least amount of business impact.

Strategic Sourcing Vs. Procurement

AspectProcurementStrategic Sourcing
Primary FocusEnd-to-end process of obtaining goods and services for the business.Focused on finding and vetting suppliers to purchase goods and services.
ScopeCovers the entire procurement process, including order placement, delivery tracking, payment, and inventory management.Primarily concerned with identifying and evaluating potential vendors.
Direct vs. IndirectDeals directly with materials and involves vendor connections.Indirectly related to materials, dealing with aspects like payment management and inventory handling.
Supply ChainFocuses on managing already existing supply chains smoothly.Manages the supply chain setup, alternative arrangements in case of issues, and performance analysis of vendor relationships.
Post-Contract PhaseTypically, it ends at the start of the contract and doesn’t extend into the post-contractual phase.Extends into post-contractual logistics, supplier management, and Tier 1 to Tier 3 supplier issues.
Relationship BuildingWhile important, it doesn’t primarily focus on building deep buyer-supplier relationships.Aims to enhance the buyer-supplier relationship for better understanding of a supplier’s capabilities and mutual value.
ObjectiveThe objective is to efficiently obtain goods and services at a desired margin.Aims to create a competitive advantage through optimized supply chain management and enhanced buyer-supplier relationships.

Importance of Strategic Sourcing

1. Cost Reduction: It helps organizations reduce procurement costs by identifying cost-effective suppliers, negotiating favorable terms, and optimizing the procurement process.

2. Supplier Performance: Strategic sourcing evaluates supplier performance to ensure consistent quality, timely delivery, and reliability, leading to better product or service quality.

3. Risk Management: It enables organizations to assess and mitigate risks in the supply chain, ensuring a more resilient and stable procurement process.

4. Supplier Diversity: It promotes supplier diversity, allowing organizations to work with a range of suppliers and support a more inclusive business environment.

5. Efficiency and Productivity: Strategic sourcing streamlines procurement processes, leading to increased efficiency, reduced lead times, and improved productivity.

6. Competitive Advantage: It can give organizations a competitive edge by finding unique suppliers, negotiating favorable terms, and ensuring a reliable supply chain.

7. Cost Transparency: It provides a clearer view of procurement costs, enabling better budgeting and financial planning.

8. Market Insights: It offers insights into market trends and supplier capabilities, helping organizations make informed decisions.

9. Sustainability: Strategic sourcing allows for the selection of environmentally responsible suppliers, contributing to sustainability goals.

10. Strategic Focus: It aligns procurement with the organization’s strategic goals and objectives, making it a critical part of the overall business strategy.


What is strategic sourcing?

Strategic sourcing is a method of sourcing products or services using various strategies based on factors like spend value, category risk, and supply market conditions.

What are the key pillars of strategic sourcing?

 The key pillars of strategic sourcing are data collection and spend analysis, supplier discovery and RFx, negotiations and contracting, and implementation and optimization.

What is the first step in the strategic sourcing process?

The first step is to identify the sourcing category, including product and service details, suppliers, and user and department involvement.

How does market analysis fit into strategic sourcing?

Market analysis helps understand buyer power, category positioning, and the choice of the best sourcing strategy approach.

Why is minimizing risk and cost essential in strategic sourcing?

 It’s crucial to determine where and how to purchase while minimizing risk and cost to optimize supplier pool and meet business goals.

Why is communication with suppliers important in strategic sourcing?

Effective communication with suppliers ensures successful implementation and a strong partnership, especially for complex products or services.

What role does tracking supplier performance play in strategic sourcing?

Tracking supplier performance helps identify issues early and ensures goals are met with minimal business impact.

What’s the primary focus of procurement compared to strategic sourcing?

Procurement focuses on the end-to-end process of obtaining goods and services, while strategic sourcing is primarily about finding and vetting suppliers.

How does strategic sourcing promote supplier diversity?

By evaluating and selecting a range of suppliers, strategic sourcing supports a more inclusive business environment.

How does strategic sourcing contribute to competitive advantage?

It creates a competitive advantage by optimizing the supply chain, building strong buyer-supplier relationships, and ensuring a reliable procurement process.