Have you ever noticed how many professional biographies mention complexity? It seems like everyone is handling “complex” litigation or “complex” commercial transactions or helping clients drive home “complex” projects.
In the sourcing world, most of us think of ourselves as handling “complex” sourcing. A fair question to ask then is, what does “complex” mean in this context? And, does it matter?
The short answer to whether the term “complex” matters in sourcing is that it should, and it is worth taking a few minutes to think about.
The University of Tennessee has adopted a model for sourcing that puts projects on a continuum from simple to complex. Adopting that model for our purposes, it is helpful to think of “noncomplex” as something that can be completely described in a contract and is supplier agnostic. The go-to product for illustrating this is the unassuming number 2 pencil. As long as you can describe the pencil completely (lead hardness and consistency, color, length, diameter, and size, etc.), it doesn’t matter where you get the pencil. All that really matters is the cost. Once you sign your supply contract, as a buyer, you can just sit back and check the boxes of pencils when they arrive to make sure they comply with their specifications.