VSP Global is a $5B+ company with over 6,000 employees and five complementary businesses that combine eye care insurance, high-quality eyewear, customized lenses, ophthalmic technology, and retail experiences to strengthen the relationship between patients and their eye doctors. VSP provides vision benefits to 88 million members through a network of over 40,500 doctors worldwide.
Approximately five years ago, VSP leadership recognized the need to change the way we were doing procurement, which was transactional and siloed in nature. Procurement/Sourcing/Travel functions were disaggregated across five semi-autonomous business units and staff that were well-tenured, with embedded behaviors. VSP Global needed to change its focus to take an aggregated view of third-party purchases and opportunities to drive better business outcomes and execute on operational excellence.
Keeping true to the VSP value of “We Have Fun,” Spend It Like It’s Yours (SILIY) was launched in 2014. SILIY’s goal was a tall order as it looked to drive better business outcomes by asking employees to spend the company funds as if they were their own. It was clear that the initiative needed to grab the attention of employees and put the idea of spending wisely front and center. In conjunction with internal marketing, Corporate Procurement and Travel developed an unmistakable mascot to drive home the message; and from that MOOLAH was born.
While Corporate Procurement and Travel was tasked with obtaining results, the SILIY program launched without a mandate – no policy iteration. SILIY leveraged video vignettes, campus signage, web-based stories and face-to-face meetings with stakeholders at various levels within the organization when communicating the purpose to drive better business outcomes. The underlying message gained traction and employees watched MOOLAH’s progression from an out-of-control, frivolous spender to a cost conscious, pennywise example of how minding spend can lead to bigger rewards. With its notoriety, MOOLAH became a staff favorite and was seen at all-company or all-staff meetings, business meetings and the like to continue to fuel awareness. The Corporate Procurement and Travel team leveraged the success of the program and showed stakeholders how, by focusing on value – better business outcomes, vetting suppliers, addressing cybersecurity risks, better commercial and legal terms, and savings – significant changes could occur.
During this success, VSP Global’s Corporate Procurement and Travel division looked internally at its brand and made investments in the team, resources, tools and policy/processes. The ability to meet the needs of the business was first addressed by surveying stakeholders (internal as well as suppliers) to assess how effective the team was in delivering value and aligning with the business’ needs. The first assessment created a baseline and progress continues to be monitored against that baseline.
Several investments were made on team capabilities, e.g., all the Corporate Procurement and Travel team members are SIG University certified and carry the Certified Sourcing Professional credential. There was investment in the tech stack – improvements were made to the tools the customers and suppliers use to engage, as well equipping the team with the necessary tools to develop wave strategies, analyze spend, run RFx events, etc.
The Results and Sustainable Successes
Figure 1: Tracking metrics before SILIY adoption
The results from the program have been significant. A key measure of Corporate Procurement and Travel’s success is spend-under-management, where VSP Global saw significant improvements, with some lines of business rising as much as 75 percent. Savings on expenditures increased by 35 percent not only due to increased awareness, but an increased utilization of Corporate Procurement and Travel. SILIY’s success as a program was the stepping stone to another corporate initiative, “Fiscal Fitness,” which continues where SILIY left off with savings and further incorporates financial understanding and well-being for both the company and its employees. These successes and tangible results have allowed VSP Global’s Corporate Procurement and Travel team to become true trusted advisors to the business. That position has spawned additional enterprise-wide programs such as a contract lifecycle program and a supplier management program, both of which provide Corporate Procurement and Travel additional means to make valuable contributions to the company.
Figure 2: Transformational results after SILIY adoption