Intelligent purchasing. 25. May 2021 From purchase to material management: WILD is laying the groundwork for more flexible solutions and less risk for its customers. They operate in a highly dynamic technological environment. Their tasks are becoming more and more complex and their strategic influence is on the rise: Today, purchasingmanagers are facing completely different challenges than just a few years ago. What used to be a conventional ”ordering department“ is now comprised of experts who minimise risks and actively participate in decision-making on product development and manufacturing. At the same time, they are responsible for ensuring the quality of the products and, last but not least, for flexibly resupplying customers at attractive prices. Therefore, staff in the purchasing department need to be true allrounders. This is why the WILD Group has launched an upskilling programme by establishing its own purchasing academy, which has gotten off to a great start. IN SEARCH OF NEW PURCHASING METHODSIn a total of 10 modules, participants will be taught both the basics and the practical application of concepts around procurement optimisation and Purchasing 4.1. The objective is to teach these modules preferably online, using a dedicated app. ”After all, no fewer than 40 employees from all company sites will be taking part in the programme. We are putting the proper tool in their hands so they can find new, innovative solution approaches“, emphasises Christian Rabitsch, Head of Supply Chain Management at WILD Group. True to Albert Einstein‘s quote ”the theory determines what we can observe,“ the first stage of the curriculum will examine the psychologicalaspects of negotiating. For these courses, WILD resorts both to external purchasing trainers and to Austrian training institutions such asthe Joanneum University of Applied Sciences. The next two levels are ”Advanced“ and ”Expert“, which impart in-depth, comprehensive know-how in the topics covered. These include the importance of supplier and risk management in the supply chain, and the fundamentals of a progressive procurement management. ”Our purchasing team must be capable of redesigning systems from scratch and breaking the mould of old practices. As a result, we can react more specifically to customer requests and create intelligent solutions that provide more flexibility at a smaller risk“, says Rabitsch. For instance, WILD has implemented a rolling commissioning system with individual release horizons at component level for one of its medical technology customers. By eliminating the general transition between subsequent commissioning, the customer benefits from a high supply security and a low loss rate in the supply chain. Depending on the customer‘s target priorities, the horizon can be adjusted differently to individual components with regard to material release and production go-ahead. For instance, if the focus in procurement is on the long-term supply security of critical components with long lead times, material release can be adjusted for 18 months, the production go-ahead for just three months. Alternatively, the customer can place the focus on risk reduction – e.g. when a technical modification is planned. This can be done, for instance, by granting a general material release for 12 months, while limiting it to only three months for a specific component. As a result, the customer bears only a three-month risk with regard to this component and can then quickly introduce their modification. OPTIMISING PRODUCT COSTSIn the B2C environment, we have long been accustomed to uncomplicated purchases with extremely short delivery periods. This also has an impact on customer behaviour in the B2B business, where requirements are increasing to a similar extent. Accordingly, purchasing managers must, in addition to ”classic“ cost reduction and efficiency increase, also focus on increasingly complex general conditions,leading to a drastic shift in their scope of tasks. The same goes for the point in time at which they should be ideally involved in the product creation process. Contract manufacturing organisations like the WILD Group have long recognised that products canonly be developed quicker and more effectively if the procurement process is more deeply integrated. ”Establishing a linkage between purchasing and development presents one of the greatest potentials of future value enhancement“, Rabitsch believes. Successfully implementing cost engineering in a customer project will yield numerous economic benefits. This is why WILD is getting purchasing managers on board already in the early phase of product development when specifications are drafted. It has been shown that this early involvement of the purchasing department helps reduce development and material costs and has a positive impact on the time to market. ”We intend to make even greater use of this leverage in the future. Adapting procurement to development and design can only work if you bring all parties involved around the table and systematically make use of the purchasing department‘s knowledge of the procurement market and the suppliers‘ competencies“, adds Rabitsch.