Rework and Supply Market Intelligence: Getting Started and Being Successful

Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, is a book (2010) that offers succinct and, at times, unconventional advice on building, running and growing a business. It’s no secret that successfully getting a business off the ground is hard. The volume of books and articles proffering guidance is staggering. Rework is refreshing in that the writing is simple, yet direct and impactful.

The advice set forth in Rework can also be applied when creating and implementing supply market intelligence (SMI) initiatives in organizations. Thinking about developing an SMI program can be, but does not have to be, daunting. Here are tidbits from the book and how they can be adapted for SMI:

Start at the Epicenter –The authors recognize that it is common to be pulled in different directions with “stuff you could do” and “want to do.” However, “The stuff you have to do is where you should begin. Start at the epicenter.”
SMI translation: Since SMI centers on information and data sources, start by identifying one or two key research resources to be used to elevate market and supplier knowledge associated with the top two or three critical spend areas (based on percentage amount and/or strategic value).

Be a Curator – “Be a curator. Stick to What’s truly essential.” The authors use Zingerman’s deli as an example because the owners only fill the shelves with quality products. “There’s an editing process.”
SMI translation: Only use resources that are of high quality and meet the exact, unique need of the organization.

Tone Is in Your Fingers  – Tone, here, is in reference to guitars and the point is that people obsess over things that don’t really matter, like fancy gear. “It’s playing with what you got as well as you can.”
SMI translation: SMI is first and foremost a state of mind.

Interruption is the Enemy of Productivity – You need to get in the “alone zone…Long stretches of alone time are when you are most productive.”
SMI translation: Successful intelligence work requires deep reading and critical thinking.

Make Tiny Decisions – You can still think big, but when you make small decisions, you can afford to change. “You just fix it.”
SMI translation: Implementing tiny, initial steps and making small decisions along the way is ok! The most important thing is just to get started.

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