New Specialist Platform Matches Procurement Talent With Interim Roles – But With A Difference

At the break of this new year we said that the contingent workforce and services market had seen some seismic changes in 2018 and wondered what additional developments might come this year, advising  that procurement of services is definitely an area to keep a procurement eye on in 2019 (Andrew Karpie, Spend Matters contingent labour workforce and services industry expert).

And the first development of the year is already upon us. Today we talked to Ed Cross, one of the founders of procurement advisory firm Odesma, about its subsidiary company - Procurement PeopleCloud® This is a new-to-market platform, developed by Odesma, which matches and provides high-calibre interim candidates to the procurement and supply chain sector. But it’s different from traditional or agency-style placements, as we shall see.

Ed described the ‘how and why’ of Procurement PeopleCloud®’s coming of age. It turns out it’s not actually new to Odesma; they developed and wrote it themselves and have been using it in-house for two years – so it’s quite an established tool. Their personal experience of procurement and HR outsourcing gained from Xchanging and other backgrounds gave them a ready-made talent pool from which to source their own interim talent needs (although they had made a couple of successful placements on the open market using it). That made them think more closely about how procurement acquires professional interim staff without going through agencies. Their own track record of spotting, verifying and retaining specific talent and skills made them realise it could be a viable offering as a standalone proposition.

“We felt the time was right now to launch it,” said Ed. “We wanted it to be in the right shape before offering it, so we’ve been working hard to make it a big enough roster to cover all bases before launch – and I believe we’ve achieved that.”

Procurement PeopleCloud® already has about 500 people on the books ready to be deployed. That can work either in a standalone way or as part of a wider Odesma project, like change management or procurement transformation for example. It can place any procurement-skilled professional at any level, from sourcing experts and supply negotiators right up to and including the CPO – so we are talking the more heavy-weight procurement professionals we suspect.

Their big differentiating factor, we understand, is their selection and verification method. Unlike some recruiters whose aim is to get ‘bums on seats’ or do searches on LinkedIn and other social people sites, Procurement PeopleCloud® has a formal and robust selection, onboarding, matching and verification process.

Odesma Assessor is a tool used to healthcheck and benchmark the whole procurement function. With seven dimensions of scrutiny based on 75 questions it can be used to analyse any procurement activity digitally. Similarly, Aurora is the equivalent people-assessment tool. It looks at relevant skills and competencies for success in procurement roles. That might cover how well a person understands the sourcing process for example, or how capable they are at negotiation tactics, all the way through to levels of change management skills or implementation experience, or even how well they use MS Excel if that skill is called for. Aurora has 30 people dimensions, and they are graded from 1 -4 accordingly, before being allocated different levels of maturity, and issued with a certificate of capability. This is both a formal e-assessment of talent and a real face-to-face one, critically evaluating ability. So it’s a thorough and robust process and one which we don’t believe is mirrored anywhere else (except perhaps for very senior exec roles). In essence it’s professional procurement people assessing professional procurement people to match candidates with customer requirements.

As part of the offering, the Candidate Excellence Programme not only maps career, experience and skills with industry and demand, but tracks candidate availability which all stakeholders can see, allowing customers to plan in advance for when the best person for the job will be available.

The service is available at a European level, but is UK-based, and covers all sectors. Ed assures us they can fulfil requirements within days (depending on the type of skillset required as clearly there are some areas at the moment where skill is in high demand, like IT). And as he points out “It’s not purely about skill, it’s also about cultural fit. We match skills to categories, rather than environments, so there are many factors that come into play.”

We haven’t seen a demo yet so can’t attest to the functionality, but our analysts will be doing that soon, so do look out for more on this to come. It’s nice to see an independent in this market with a home-grown specialism that is not the result of a merger or acquisition, making it more focused and less generalist.

Candidates get onto the books by directly approaching Procurement PeopleCloud® via email. They are actively building up their talent pool of high-capability people, so enquiries are welcome.

And to stay on top of developments in this area visit the Contracted Services/SOW SolutionMap and Q4 2018 Independent Contract Workers: Provider Scoring Summary

Discuss this:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.