Procurement is a key part of every business as it is one of the areas that have a great impact on a company’s bottom line. Also, studies have shown that the key priority in 2017 for procurement managers everywhere is to reduce procurement costs. This is a big responsibility to shoulder, and naturally, a procurement manager must have the necessary business acumen and expertise to manage the procurement cycle effectively. However, being a procurement manager also means having to lead a procurement team, and being a leader is very different from being just a manager. Knowing this, how does one make the step up to becoming a procurement thought leader? Here are five strategies that a procurement thought leader needs to know.
Hire the right talent
An organisation’s talent pool is what makes it successful, so the saying goes. While there may be other factors that determine the success of an organisation – the leadership, a salient understanding of the business, and effective communication, to name a few – the importance of a company’s talent pool cannot be denied. Is it any wonder then, that established organisations across the world are constantly engaged in the war for talent to get ahead of the competition? A procurement thought leader recognises the need to hire and retain good talent because they understand what are the organisation’s supply chain needs. They also know that having talent who can bring value to the organisation’s procurement process makes all the difference to the company’s bottom line, and in the long run, determines the success and longevity of the organisation.
Identify potential problems
Procurement thought leaders are always one step ahead of their professional peers when it comes to identifying and solving problems. In any procurement process, there will be instances where problems that crop up could potentially disrupt the procurement cycle and derail the supply chain. Helming a business process with such high stakes can be daunting, but a procurement thought leader takes it all in his/her stride by putting in place fail safe methods to keep the procurement cycle running smoothly. One of the most effective strategies is to engage with fellow employees, suppliers and internal stakeholders to identify, assess and understand problems in the procurement process, and subsequently formulate solutions to those problems. There may be plenty of research, tests and data crunching to do before getting to the root of the problem, but being able to get the procurement cycle up-and-running as usual would be a win for the procurement thought leader. Once a solution is on hand, a procurement thought leader explains the changes that need to be carried out in the procurement process, and assists the staff with implementation to help them adapt.
Identify business Influencers
Leaders are leaders because of their ability to lead, as well as their propensity for garnering the respect of their peers. Regardless of whether you are looking to influence your peers or those who report to you, they must recognise that you have something great to offer. As a procurement thought leader, one of the best things you could offer to the organisation is your ability to suss out the influencers, and to do that, you will need to have top notch stakeholder management skills. These influencers may come from many different departments across the organisation, so it’s imperative that they are aware of your presence and the good work that you’ve done for the organisation. Getting to know everyone in the organisation allows you to easily determine who are the key leaders in the business, and which individuals have the ability to influence the rest of the staff, especially management. These people are the key to getting buy in from other departments of the business when you put forward your procurement strategy. Once these people have been identified, endeavour to work together with these individuals to implement changes that benefit the organisation.
Clarify objectives and milestones
The procurement process involves many stakeholders, steps and milestones. As such, it’s important that a procurement thought leader is clear on these issues and inculcates in their people the culture of accountability. Any delays in a procurement cycle will negatively affect other areas of the business, so it’s important that the procurement team – as well as all other teams in the company – are aware of the objectives of the procurement process, where the company stands in the procurement cycle, what are the deliverables, as well as the relevant deadlines to meet. Setting deadlines and being strategically outcome-focused helps you measure the progress of the procurement cycle and see how much further the team has to go to complete the procurement process. To help the team meet procurement business objectives and deadlines, it’s helpful to develop time frames for each step in the procurement cycle, and consistently carry out reviews and assessments after the completion of each step. This fosters accountability and responsibility among the team members, which helps to move the procurement process forward on schedule. As a procurement thought leader, you must also be ready to listen to any problems that the team encounters, and encourage them to voice out any issues that they may be facing. Good team dynamics are born of strong management and team support.
Encourage automation in the procurement process
A systematic procurement process can be further improved with the help of automation. In procurement, automation helps to accelerate the procurement process and free up resources that would otherwise be stuck working on repetitive and time consuming administrative work. One of the goals of any organisation is to optimise its resources, and procurement automation will enable staff to focus on tasks that add value to the organisation and elevate procurement functions. To steer management towards automating the procurement process, you need to highlight five things that are required: Data; technology; expertise; suppliers; and processes. Data and technology will go a long way towards helping industry experts develop ways to automate the procurement process, and with the support of suppliers and well-thought-out processes, the goal of procurement automation is likely to be met. As businesses embrace the digital revolution, automation is the only way to go for the procurement.
In a nutshell, procurement is a key element of a business due to the fact that it is capable of causing a great impact on a company’s bottom line. We at ThunderQuote hope that this article was of good help to you, for related articles stop by at our site ThunderQuote
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