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Innovations in Governance & Compliance: Air Canada

Published October 13, 2022

Written by: Future of Sourcing Awards
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Future of Sourcing Awards

The 2023 Future of Sourcing Awards recognizes organizations and individuals that show innovation, leadership and transformation in categories that are critical to the sourcing industry. The Awards will take place on October 18, 2023, the capstone evening at the SIG Global Executive Summit. Attendees will enjoy dinner, networking and an awards ceremony that brings together some of the brightest minds to create a truly remarkable experience.


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Can you outline why your team embarked on this project and the problem that needed to be solved?

Air Canada embarked on the project to digitize its Source-to-Pay activities for a variety of reasons, including moving its procurement activities to a single platform, aligning the strategic procurement business with other aspects of the company’s environmental sustainability priorities i.e reducing paper, and most importantly, to gain efficiencies by integrating processes and collaborating in one place. Prior to its digital transformation, Source-to-Pay activities were manual and disconnected. It was challenging to have full visibility and governance over the end-to-end process. 

How were things done originally and what was the inspiration to innovate the process?

When conducting sourcing and contract activities, there was a lot of process variation across spend categories. Sourcing projects and contracts were still handled through personal emails and hard drives. There was an opportunity to integrate a corporate purchasing process for indirect spend. Air Canada needed a people, process, and technology transformation. 

What KPIs did you use to measure success for this project? (For example: performance, customer satisfaction, revenue, sales or relevant financial gains?)

One of the key metrics for us is user adoption which implies new process adoption and higher levels of compliance. We’re also monitoring more transactional metrics to track volume, cycle time, and performance. We are leveraging BI dashboards to have all Source-to-pay governance metrics in a single platform.

How do you plan to ensure that the new model remains relevant and adapts to the future needs of the market?

We intentionally adopted a cloud solution with out-of-the-box configuration to allow our system to evolve and consume innovation as it is released. The technology team is routinely assessing new upgrades together with the process owners and integrating them into our configuration when relevant.

How did you get your company and/or stakeholders to get on board and support this project?

From a change management perspective, top-down leadership and corporate-wide sponsorship are essential to be successful. Air Canada’s strong vision statement of “One Standard, One Process and One Technology” aligned all involved parties to the same goals. We invited affected stakeholders early on in the process to be involved with the project, and a change champion from most teams was available to participate. Additionally, we emphasized communication early and often and messages were conveyed widely and supported by leadership.


What advice do you have for those who may want to implement this innovative approach in their own organizations?

We knew that it was time to evaluate how the available technologies could benefit us, so we worked with an external firm that performed an assessment, earmarking where we were at compared to our peers. The business case stemmed from that work and featured the financial and non-financial benefits of the transformation. The outcome of the assessment, paired with the expected benefits from the transformation, provided a compelling story that led to Executive approval.


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