Sourcing Strategy

A plan that outlines a retailer's approach to identifying, selecting, and managing suppliers to meet business objectives, such as cost reduction, product quality, or sustainability.

What is Sourcing Strategy?

Sourcing strategy is a plan that outlines how an organisation procures the goods and services it needs. It involves decisions on whether to manufacture in-house, outsource production, or combine both approaches. The goal of a sourcing strategy is to optimise costs, quality, and efficiency in the supply chain while aligning with the company's overall business objectives.

How Sourcing Strategy works

  • Assessment: The first step involves understanding the organisation's requirements. What goods or services are needed, and in what quantities? Are there any quality or compliance standards that must be met?

  • Supplier Evaluation: Organisations evaluate potential suppliers based on factors like cost, quality, reliability, and location. This may involve identifying multiple suppliers or considering whether to source globally or locally.

  • Make-or-Buy Decisions: Organisations decide whether to produce certain components or products in-house or to outsource production to external suppliers. This decision depends on factors like cost, expertise, and capacity.

  • Negotiation and Contracting: Once suppliers are selected, negotiations take place to determine terms and conditions. Contracts are drawn up to formalise the relationship, including pricing, delivery schedules, and quality standards.

  • Supplier Relationship Management: Ongoing management of supplier relationships is crucial. This includes monitoring supplier performance, addressing issues, and ensuring that they continue to meet the organisation's needs.

  • Optimisation: Sourcing strategies should be periodically reviewed and optimised to adapt to changing market conditions, technology advancements, and shifts in organisational goals.
The ultimate goal is to ensure a reliable and cost-effective supply chain that aligns with the organisation's strategic objectives.

Pros of Sourcing Strategy

  1. Cost Savings: Sourcing strategies help organizations identify cost-efficient suppliers and negotiation opportunities, which can significantly reduce procurement costs. This can lead to increased profitability and competitiveness in the market.
  2. Quality and Expertise: By selecting the right suppliers through a thoughtful sourcing strategy, organizations can tap into the expertise and capabilities of specialist suppliers. This often leads to higher product or service quality and innovation.
  3. Risk Mitigation: Effective sourcing strategies consider risk factors, such as supply chain disruptions and geopolitical issues. Diversifying suppliers or having contingency plans in place can help mitigate risks and ensure a consistent supply of goods or services.

Cons of Sourcing Strategy

  1. Complexity and Resource Intensiveness: Developing and implementing a sourcing strategy can be complex and resource-intensive. It requires a significant amount of time, effort, and expertise to analyze potential suppliers, negotiate contracts, and manage supplier relationships effectively.
  2. Overreliance on a Single Strategy: Over time, a sourcing strategy may become too rigid or overly dependent on a particular approach or set of suppliers. This can limit flexibility and responsiveness to changing market conditions.
  3. Supplier Relationship Challenges: While sourcing strategies aim to build strong relationships with suppliers, they can also lead to conflicts, misunderstandings, and dependence on a limited supplier base. Managing these relationships effectively is crucial to avoid disruptions.


Below you will find answers to common questions
What is the primary goal of implementing a sourcing strategy in retail?
The primary goal of implementing a sourcing strategy in retail is to ensure a consistent and cost-effective supply of products that meet the quality and quantity requirements of the business. It involves selecting the right suppliers, negotiating favourable terms, and optimising the sourcing process to maximise efficiency and profitability.
What are some common challenges retailers face when implementing a sourcing strategy?
Retailers often face challenges such as supplier reliability, fluctuating demand, and global supply chain disruptions. Additionally, balancing cost savings with product quality and ethical considerations can be a challenge. Effective sourcing strategies aim to address these challenges by diversifying supplier bases, establishing strong supplier relationships, and ensuring a flexible supply chain to adapt to changing market conditions.