Tuesday 6 August 2013

Procurement – Its Own Worst Enemy? (Part One)

by Sarah Clarke

I recently read a post from the Harvard Business Review titled ‘The Problem with Procurement’. It was an interesting read and I’d recommend any procurement professional to go and take a quick look.

The essence of the results ‘found pretty conclusively that procurement managers are their own worst enemy, both with external suppliers and within the company, with internal customers and other stakeholders’.

Coincidentally I had dinner with a friend last night; she works for a small but national services organisation as an IT service level and contract manager. Recently her organisation ‘let go’ their entire procurement team (all 3 of them), save for one administrator who’s since been absorbed into the finance team.

The reason? Communications. The procurement team went ahead with a large, unwieldy (and by the sounds of it unnecessary) ERP implementation without any true engagement with other key teams within the business. The end result? Disengaged stakeholders willing the project to fail, one furious CEO and a selection of P45s waiting in the procurement office.

Now, obviously, not working for the organisation myself I will hold my hands up and say that I don’t know the ins and outs of what happened, I’m probably not even getting an accurate story from my friend (we had consumed a couple of glasses of red), however it made me think of communications within my own company and the importance of strong communication, and I think we’re pretty good at it.

So starting tomorrow, we’ll have a series around some of the communication tools we use, and a lot of them are free. Come back tomorrow and I’ll be going into more detail.

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