Having in-house intelligence helps procurement teams to identify problem areas. However, to resolve those issues they also require external support and data that helps them to formulate corrective strategies. Strategic market intelligence provides the answers to arrive at an effective solution. It also helps companies to assess their competitors and understand the market potential for their products or services. It involves collation of complex data from several external sources to make accurate decision making on aspects such as investment, new markets, diversification prospects and business expansion.
A strategic market intelligence report therefore becomes a valuable tool that facilitates strategy-formulation. The report includes data collated from a wide range of sources such as:
- Company websites
- Reports from industry bodies
- Trade journals, magazines and periodicals
- Annual reports
- Category specialists and consultants
- Market survey reports
A market intelligence report should provide enough data points to drive the decision-making process. Major parameters that companies and procurement teams expect from an intelligence report include:
- Commodity price trends
- Market forecasts
- Market share of leading suppliers
- Supplier analysis with financial data
- Industry benchmarks
- Listing of suppliers based on the region/country
- Competitor SWOT analysis
- Market risk factors
Gathering market intelligence data is expensive, effort-intensive and needs tremendous research. It requires subscription to industry journals, conducting surveys across industry channels and supply chains. It also involves using cost models and in-depth analysis of categories and sources which require the services of research professionals and statisticians.
Strategic market intelligence also has its own share of challenges such as mining relevant data and authenticity of information. However, companies could partner with outsourcing agencies to control costs and improve effectiveness. It is also prudent to choose service providers who regularly monitor the markets and have resources in place to offer customized intelligence services. Companies could benefit from their expertise and experience in the specific domain and get quality inputs related to their categories in a short span of time.
Strategic market intelligence enables companies to reap rich dividends as it provides the ideal focal points for formulating strategies relevant to their customers and markets. Procurement teams could rely on market intelligence to identify the right suppliers who can provide cost advantage and assure timely deliveries. Companies can stabilize their production cycles and ensure timely product deliveries. They can penetrate new markets and widen their customer base.
Therefore quality strategic market intelligence can help procurement teams to track key suppliers and handle supply chain risks more effectively. While it is difficult for companies and procurement teams to have in-house expertise to gather external data, by choosing the right service providers, they can gain insights on industries, market trends, suppliers, risk factors and policy changes.
As market intelligence helps keep a tab on suppliers, competitors and customers, procurement teams and stakeholders can devise appropriate strategies to score over their competitors and save costs. While goals may differ between companies, the need for access to reliable sources of information for strategy formulation remains the same. Therefore partnering with the right service providers not only saves time and effort, it makes access to market intelligence easier with the right amount of customization through technology and tools.