BravoSolution Real World Sourcing Series – Assessing the Function (part 2)

I promised to feature some of the output from the group discussions we had during the “Assessing the Procurement Function” session we held the other week.

In the first one, we asked the delegates to consider different options for how you might carry out an assessment.  As an example, we looked at a typical broad based external consultant or professional body assessment, based on a survey.  Here were my pros and cons of such an option.

Pros – credibility; good data sources (other participants); intellectual / academic underpinning; thoughtful content, often community options (chance to talk to other participants).

Cons – cost; resource (may require internal commitment to data gathering etc.); appropriateness issues; potential for “so what” results; conflicts of interest (up-sell focus); impersonal approach.

We then asked each table to look at the pros and cons of three further options. Here is a summary of the responses from the participants.

OPTIONS

Pros

Cons

An internal team – CPO, graduate trainee, user Good understanding of situation and insight into key issuesEasy access to dataRelatively cheap

Learning experience for team

Lack of credibilityNo external benchmark / comparatorWill the team be honest?
A survey into eProcurement carried out by a software firm Quick, easy, cheap, non intrusiveHonest and independentAble to benchmark against others / quantify performance

May be able to suggest other participants / do some networking

Will it drive change / have credibility?ImpersonalNot directly focused on our situation

Limited follow up

Peter Smith* carries out a 10 day “Procurement Capability Review”  type analysis Assessment from someone who is expertUnbiased, non-political, independentParticipants may be more honest than survey / internal team options

Qualitative element may drive benefits beyond procurement

Cost, time and effort neededIntrusive – will stakeholders buy in to it?How appropriate will the findings be – does reviewer understand our business, sector etc?

Will we like the outcome?!

* or other independent “expert”

The point of the exercise was to show that there are no absolute rights or wrongs when it comes to working out the best option(s) for carrying out an assessment of the function. All have strengths and weaknesses; it does very much depend on what you want to get out of it, what constraints you have, and what are the most important factors for you. For instance, is credibility of the assessor key? Or is doing something quickly without needing too much input from internal staff critical?

Looking at those factors and considering what really matters to you is the key to coming up with the most appropriate option(s).

In our next post on this topic we’ll cover the other “group exercise” from the session – what are the three factors that really best identify the strength of a procurement function. Fascinating! And remember, the full set of slides are available here.

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