The Hackett Group European Procurement Advisory Practice Leader Mélani Flores talks with Vodafone Global Head of SCM Development, Operations & Digital Reinhard Plaza-Bartsch about their Vodafone Blockchain Price Manager, which was the winner in the Source-to-Purchase category in The Hackett Group’s 2021 Digital Awards.
Welcome to the Hackett Group’s Business Excelleration Podcast, where – week after week – we hear from experts on how to avoid obstacles, manage detours, and celebrate milestones on the journey to world-class performance. This episode of the podcast is hosted by the Hackett Group European Procurement Advisory Practice Leader Mélani Flores. She speaks with Reinhard Plaza-Bartsch, Vodafone Global Head of SCM Development, Operations & Digital. Mélani and Reinhard discuss the Vodafone Blockchain Price Manager, which was the winner in the Source-to-Purchase category in the Hackett Group’s 2021 Digital Awards.
To kick off the conversation, Mélani asks how the Vodafone Procurement Company operates and supports the other lines of Vodafone business. Vodafone is, Reinhard shares by way of background, a leading technology communications company. Vodafone Procurement Company is effectively the large supply chain arm of the Vodafone group. It centralizes procurement for most third-party connections Vodafone maintains, covering categories from networks to IT, devices, and “indirects.” The Vodafone Procurement Company’s value proposition is to bring value to the business through scale, driving category transformation and heavy digitization of the supply chain.
Moving forward, Mélani and Reinhard talk more about the role of digital transformation within Vodafone Procurement Company. Digital transformation has been the organization’s top priority for several years, and it started with a clear focus on getting access to data. It involves standardization and automation, movement and connection of data, and much more. Digital is ultimately now part of the company’s DNA and drives operational and customer experience efforts.
Turning more specifically to the Vodafone Blockchain Price Manager, Mélani asks what it is and what business challenge required it. The instigating challenge was the issue of keeping track of many pricing agreements, managing them actively, and avoiding any financial leakage. Automation promised to cut down on time and labor, and blockchain seemed a viable option. As Reinhard and his colleagues looked into their existing estate and leaned into new technology, they thought blockchain would offer a unique opportunity for synchronization and alignment. Blockchain could integrate into the Vodafone ecosystem, and offered several points of value, such as making both catalog maintenance and the offering of full transparency easier.
Turning to other business professionals engaging in similar initiatives, Reinhard advises them to be cautious about the technology they choose, and then to focus on development. After having a view to design, the last piece takes critical stock of architectural concerns. As for Reinhard and his company, next steps for Vodafone Blockchain Price Manager include maximizing use of the solution, as well as considering the possibility of turning into a product available for other companies. More broadly, the next steps in Vodafone Procurement Company’s digital transformation center on three areas: deep focus on analytics and business insight, deeper automation, and moving into other areas auxiliary to procurement.
- 0:52 – Welcome to this episode, hosted by Mélani Flores.
- 1:42 – How does Vodafone Procurement Company operate?
- 3:59 – On the role of digital transformation in the company
- 7:17 – The conversation shifts to the Vodafone Blockchain Price Manager.
- 12:07 – On value derived from the solution and recommendations to other leaders.
- 18:26 – Reinhard shares next steps for the solution and the procurement company in general.