Friday 5 October 2012

Is your Procurement Team Driving on all Cylinders?

Authored by Mickey North Rizza

Have you ever ridden in a convertible car that is just purring along the highway, with the wind providing just enough breeze to keep you cool, the stereo and speakers on the perfect tune, and you feel you are in total control and in harmony with the road and your surroundings? That is the precisely what happens when procurement value contribution becomes so significant that it positively impacts both the top and bottom lines of the business.

Think for a moment about your team in terms of the perfect convertible car experience. The convertible car is your resource team – employees, technology, policies and business processes — running on all cylinders and meeting performance expectations. The highway is your path to the desired outcome, which may be altered, but is a journey that you determine. The wind represents risk or the opportunity that a factor may change, and for that we must be ready (heaters and covering for inclement weather or tough times). And finally the stereo and speakers represent the strategy and alignment to a bigger picture of why the drive and journey is so important – to meet the expected outcomes and enhance the business value contribution.

Over 65% of businesses are on a procurement journey fraught with car or resource issues, making their journey problematic and filled with performance concerns; the outcome: poor top and bottom line contribution. Lack of technology and talent are missed opportunities to shorten time to value, introduce transparency, ideas, change management and problem solving; similar to driving a 40 year old convertible rather than a newer model with all the bells and whistles. Business policies and process issues are akin to ignoring tire rotation and balancing, oil changes and tune ups; without the basics something will always break down requiring reaction to problems rather than the preventative maintenance of proactively managing to meet performance expectations.

Add to the car issues the probability of altered highways and routes and unforeseen weather and risks, then couple it with the known stereo and speakers or required business outcomes, and it becomes easy to understand why significant procurement value contribution can be tough to deliver and why the perfect convertible experience can be so elusive. Changing the path to become successful requires a full look at your resources – do they need tweaking, changing, upgrading, maintenance, a fresh start or a complete overhaul? Is your procurement value contribution journey fraught with too many starts and stops, fender benders and excuses as to why it can’t meet the desired outcomes? Is the weather changing so quickly that reacting is the only way to get past it? Are your stereo and speakers tuned to the wrong songs? The car, the journey, the weather and the stereo and speakers are all part of the harmony you desire to experience: a high performing procurement team that delivers significant top and bottom line value contribution. Have you started this year’s procurement review so you can prep for next year? Are you ready to put the top down this next year?

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