LCCS: Don't Forget About the Talent Question

Before leaving for China, I had a chance a few weeks back to catch up with an old friend and industry colleague, Carolyn Muszynski. Carolyn runs the boutique recruiting firm Carnegie Management Associates, which specializes in executive search in the Spend Management world. Based on our conversation, I asked Carolyn if she would be willing to share her thoughts from time-to-time with Spend Matters readers on talent recruitment and management in the Spend Management world. To kick-off this series of discussions on Spend Matters, Carolyn decided to write a short piece on the intersection of low cost country sourcing (LCCS) and talent recruiting and management. This piece follows below:

"In honor of Jason’s trip to China I wanted to address some of the talent issues that are being faced by companies when it comes to putting together a team that can successfully source products abroad. It's no surprise that many executives are making the decision to source abroad. At times, however, they make this decision without making sure they have the right people onboard to make their new LCCS initiatives successful. But just as there is more than one way to skin a cat, there is more than one way to ensure you have the right people on board to successfully source from developing markets.

Once an organization has done the appropriate research to ensure that sourcing abroad is the right decision, the majority of the companies that I have seen succeed use one of the following three recruiting / talent management strategies:

1) They begin an active search to find an executive who has successfully developed and implemented a sourcing strategy in the specific country from which they wish to source.

2) They hire an outside consultant to help develop the sourcing strategy and then have them train the company’s current procurement organization on the sourcing plan. Usually the consultant will remain on board for a few months after the program has started to ensure success and help work through any glitches that may arise

3) The company elects to use a third party to whom they pay a commission to run their sourcing program, so that they in effect "outsource" their sourcing program

Most companies run into difficulty when they have either not done the appropriate due diligence to ensure that sourcing abroad is the right answer or if they don't have the right people on board to create, implement and continue to improve LCCS programs because, as we know, things can change very quickly when sourcing internationally. In my experience, far too many companies put the talent issue second when it is in fact critical to ensuring initial and ongoing LCCS success."

Based on my experience, I agree 100% with what Carolyn has to say about the need to consider talent management as a top factor in the global sourcing equation. Carolyn has great perspectives on recruiting in the Spend Management sector in general, and I look forward to posting additional thoughts and material from her in the future.

Jason Busch

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