Talent News

Improve the capabilites of your Procurement team.

Improve the capabilites of your Procurement team.

Wednesday 6th December 2017
Mandy Chippindale

In today's transformational Procurement world, it isn't enough to be just a 'YES' person anymore. This will no longer impress stakeholders and if it does, you need to ask yourself; are you working for the right organisation?
Are you questioning the status quo, considering risk mitigation/collaborative problem solving and looking beyond the confines of the tender process ' this is all part of the innovation movement within procurement.
Certain rules must be adhered to and delegated authority must be respected but empowering your people is paramount in securing and cascading capability in procurement.
Invest in your people, invest in your business - here are three ways to improve the capabilities of your Procurement team and a word of warning, it starts with YOU the manager.

1. Strategic thinking:
This seems like an obvious one but it isn't always, strategy often comes from the top (usually the HO), they devise, the 'standard processes, procedures, global category management etc', of course this is still an essential requirement, all of the subsidiaries must align using best practice but cascading down the standard's and suggesting this is gospel and must be adhered to is problematic to say the least. We can't surmise the outcome of casual factors effecting the supply chain with all the experience and insight in the world. So we must have key strategic players across the board sitting all the subsidiaries, who have the power and ability to make crucial decisions when required. Differences in culture, environment, logistics and laws all play a part in determining differences with cross-cultural management, the most equipped professional to make a strategic decision within their natural habitat is the person who resides there.

2. Procurement Qualifications:
Delivering training across many different organisations enables me to meet a wide variety of procurement professionals and I am delighted that their management is prepared to invest in them, whether this is skills training or professional qualifications.
On the other hand, I do occasionally experience opposition to people development and this is a classic example of a negative learnt behaviour cascading down, statements such as "I've being in the business for thirty years, why do I need a qualification in what I do every day, I could teach the class." I don't mean to sound rude using this example, I understand it's the environment they inhabit and I also understand more often than not they are trying to save their organisation money by not paying for skills training and qualifications as they are seemingly expensive. However Procurement thirty years ago is vastly different to Procurement now; as a result of suppliers adding more value and with the outsourcing organisations spending more than ever on goods and services before with global sourcing increasing risk levels considerably... Procurement now, where technological advancement has meant the long standing procurement staff have often undergone on-the-job training, although there are some middle and higher management procurement professional who have managed to bypass even this.
Transactional, procurement or 'firefighting' has continued to add cost, reduce value, increase risk and damage supplier relationships.
Allowing and encouraging a growth mind-set and adding to this to Procurement theory will stimulate leadership decision making and wider strategy implementation across the board.

3. Adaptability and empowerment
Is the most important attribute in establishing capability within your procurement team. It starts from the top-down, your team should be encouraged to embrace change and not resist it. This links into improving capability through the undertaking of skills training, or professional qualifications, and using this to help them in thinking strategically; the changing nature of the supply chain requires this.
You need to be able to rely on your team to think and act fast on their own, using their experience and capability.
Giving your team the confidence to think innovatively and present their ideas, understanding and having the confidence to know; this will be appreciated and respected by management will result in a flexible and trusted working environment.