Sourcing Strategy

  • By ProcureDesk
  • March 27,2024
  • 10 min read

Sourcing Strategy

A sourcing strategy refers to a plan that formalizes the way information is gathered and used so that an organization can utilize its consolidated purchasing power to find the best possible values in the marketplace. It is a critical component in the procurement and accounts payable process. This term is often used in the context of procurement, supply chain management, and logistics.

Developing a sourcing strategy involves analyzing the company’s spending, supply market, and the total cost of ownership. The strategy also includes identifying the most suitable suppliers, negotiating with them, and managing the supplier relationships. The ultimate goal of a sourcing strategy is to reduce costs, improve operational efficiency, and enhance the quality of products or services.

Types of Sourcing Strategies

There are several types of sourcing strategies that a company can adopt, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The choice of strategy depends on the company’s specific needs, goals, and the nature of its supply chain.

The most common types of sourcing strategies include single sourcing, multiple sourcing, dual sourcing, and global sourcing. Each of these strategies has its own unique characteristics and is suited to different situations.

Single Sourcing

Single sourcing is a strategy where a company relies on one supplier for its needs. This strategy can lead to cost savings due to the high volume of purchases from one supplier. However, it also carries a high risk because the company is dependent on a single supplier.

Single sourcing is often used when a company needs a specialized product or service that only a few suppliers can provide. In such cases, the company may choose to work with a single supplier to ensure quality and consistency.

Multiple Sourcing

Multiple sourcing is a strategy where a company uses several suppliers to meet its needs. This strategy reduces the risk of supply disruption and promotes competition among suppliers, potentially leading to better prices and service.

However, managing multiple suppliers can be complex and time-consuming. Companies using this strategy need to have robust supplier management processes in place to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

Benefits of a Sourcing Strategy

A well-defined sourcing strategy can provide several benefits to an organization. These benefits can be broadly categorized into cost savings, risk management, and strategic advantages.

Cost savings are often the primary motivation for companies to develop a sourcing strategy. By consolidating purchases and negotiating better terms with suppliers, companies can achieve significant savings. Additionally, a sourcing strategy can help companies identify and eliminate unnecessary spending.

Risk Management

A sourcing strategy also plays a crucial role in risk management. By diversifying suppliers, a company can reduce the risk of supply disruption. Furthermore, a sourcing strategy can help a company identify and mitigate other supply chain risks, such as quality issues and price volatility.

Strategic advantages can be gained by aligning the sourcing strategy with the company’s overall business strategy. For example, a company that prioritizes sustainability might choose suppliers who use environmentally friendly practices. This not only supports the company’s sustainability goals but also enhances its reputation and brand image.

Developing a Sourcing Strategy

Developing a sourcing strategy is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. The process typically involves several steps, including spend analysis, market research, supplier evaluation and selection, contract negotiation, and supplier relationship management.

Spend analysis is the first step in developing a sourcing strategy. This involves analyzing the company’s spending patterns to identify opportunities for savings and efficiency improvements. The next step, market research, involves studying the supply market to understand the competitive landscape, pricing trends, and supplier capabilities.

Supplier Evaluation and Selection

Supplier evaluation and selection is a critical step in the sourcing strategy development process. This involves assessing potential suppliers based on various criteria such as price, quality, delivery performance, and financial stability. The goal is to identify the most suitable suppliers who can meet the company’s needs and expectations.

Contract negotiation is the next step in the process. This involves negotiating the terms and conditions of the contract with the selected suppliers. The aim is to secure the best possible deal for the company, taking into account factors such as price, delivery terms, and payment terms.

Supplier Relationship Management

Once the contracts are in place, the focus shifts to supplier relationship management. This involves managing the ongoing relationship with the suppliers to ensure they meet their contractual obligations and continue to deliver value to the company.

Supplier relationship management is a continuous process that requires regular communication, performance monitoring, and feedback. It is crucial for maintaining a strong and productive relationship with suppliers.

Challenges in Implementing a Sourcing Strategy

Implementing a sourcing strategy can be challenging due to various factors. These challenges can be broadly categorized into internal challenges and external challenges.

Internal challenges relate to the company’s internal processes, resources, and culture. For example, a company might lack the necessary skills or resources to develop and implement a sourcing strategy. Or, there might be resistance to change within the organization, making it difficult to implement new sourcing practices.

External Challenges

External challenges relate to factors outside the company’s control, such as market conditions, supplier behavior, and regulatory changes. For example, a volatile market can make it difficult to predict costs and manage risks. Similarly, suppliers might not be willing or able to meet the company’s requirements, making it challenging to implement the sourcing strategy.

Despite these challenges, a well-planned and executed sourcing strategy can provide significant benefits to a company. Therefore, it is crucial for companies to invest in developing a robust sourcing strategy and overcoming the challenges associated with its implementation.

Role of Technology in Sourcing Strategy

Technology plays a crucial role in the development and implementation of a sourcing strategy. It can help automate and streamline the sourcing process, making it more efficient and effective.

For example, procurement software can help companies manage their spend, conduct market research, evaluate suppliers, negotiate contracts, and manage supplier relationships. Similarly, data analytics tools can help companies analyze their spending patterns and identify opportunities for savings.


Automation is a key benefit of using technology in sourcing. It can help reduce manual tasks, freeing up time for strategic activities. For example, procurement software can automate the process of sending requests for quotations (RFQs) to suppliers, receiving and comparing quotes, and issuing purchase orders.

Automation can also improve accuracy and reduce errors. For example, automated data entry can eliminate the risk of manual errors, ensuring the accuracy of spend data.

Data Analytics

Data analytics is another important aspect of technology in sourcing. It can help companies make data-driven decisions, improving the effectiveness of their sourcing strategy.

For example, data analytics can help companies identify spending trends, understand supplier performance, and predict future costs. This information can be used to inform sourcing decisions and improve negotiation strategies.


In conclusion, a sourcing strategy is a critical component of the procurement and accounts payable process. It helps companies manage their spending, reduce costs, manage risks, and gain strategic advantages. However, developing and implementing a sourcing strategy can be challenging and requires careful planning and execution.

Technology can play a crucial role in this process, helping companies automate and streamline their sourcing activities, make data-driven decisions, and overcome the challenges associated with sourcing. Therefore, companies should consider investing in technology as part of their sourcing strategy.