Striving for new global standard in sourcing

By Kerry Hallard, chief executive of the National Outsourcing Association

With technology accelerating, the globalisation of the sourcing industry, and the as-a-service economy making it easier for organisations to leverage innovation to become more customer-centric, more dynamic and easier to do business with, there is going to be some levelling of the sourcing landscape. With so many players operating in this globalised market, there has never been a greater need for a global standard that both buyers and providers in sourcing can adopt in their approaches to unlock optimal value from their partnerships.

It is for this reason that the National Outsourcing Association (NOA) has been developing its Global Standards Programme, a suite of accreditation programmes aimed at helping organisations on both the buy and supply side achieve the utmost success with their sourcing, and a crucial part of the NOA’s ongoing campaign to professionalise the sourcing industry.

One such example is our Corporate Accreditation Programme. Participating organisations regard the process as a journey towards sourcing excellence, confirming competency, tackling weaknesses, and assuring customers and stakeholders they’re in the safest hands. We’re seeing a number of large, prominent buyers of sourcing follow in the footsteps of high-profile organisations such as the BBC and sign up for corporate accreditation, particularly those operating in heavily regulated industries, including those in the public sector.
So, what is it all about?

The Corporate Accreditation Programme has been developed to sit above the existing framework outlined in the NOA’s Sourcing Life Cycle Model, with accreditation giving organisations that participate a much better picture of their sourcing maturity, and highlighting strengths and weaknesses in their existing approach. This involves high-level decision-makers from across the organisation contributing their perspectives on different touchpoints in the contract. NOA software is then used to consolidate these views, highlighting prominent trends and issues. Accreditation is conducted by an external NOA auditor, who assesses the organisation’s sourcing capabilities following a day of evidence-gathering onsite.

The Life Cycle Model is in itself a framework that acts as a global standard for excellent sourcing, having been used, critiqued and refined by more than 200 organisations, ensuring it remains the definitive guide for sourcing best practice globally.
It is also free to access for all NOA members.

The NOA has plenty of experience in accreditation having previously contributed to BSI and ISO guidelines for sourcing, and having been an awarding and accrediting body for a decade.

Thanks to the programme, we’ve identified specific areas for refinement, including simple steps we can take to make quick and meaningful improvements

For those businesses going through the NOA’s Global Standards Programme, analysis of the output will undoubtedly initiate the simplification of processes and help create a more efficient sourcing life cycle model. This will lead to the removal of unnecessary costs from procurement processes and even more efficient sourcing services acquisition and delivery, giving further opportunity to create ongoing value through the contract life cycle.

Jim Hemmington, director of procurement for the BBC, says: “The BBC undertook corporate accreditation to get an external expert analysis of our processes and procedures for the awarding of major outsourced contracts. We chose the NOA as an external accreditor because they are widely recognised as being at the forefront of contract management. Thanks to the programme, we’ve identified specific areas for refinement, including simple steps we can take to make quick and meaningful improvements.”

The BBC has told us that they plan to use the NOA’s outsourcing standards long into the future, to help demonstrate they are keeping pace with emerging best practice and driving as much value as possible through their outsourced provision. So should you.