We’re All Going on a Procurement Summer Vacation! Using the Holidays Positively

593In the UK, last Friday signaled the start of the school holidays for many people. That was greeted by the usual chaos on the roads, with huge traffic jams, lorry fires causing the M6 Motorway to melt, road rage killings and general mayhem.

Those of us without school age kids don’t have to participate in the ritual of summer holidays, thank goodness. And if you don’t, it is a good time of year actually in many ways. The trains, buses and (in non-tourist locations anyway) shops and restaurants are less busy. You find there are fewer meetings scheduled for the six weeks or so, and the endless cycle of conferences and events pauses for a while as well.

This all means that the procurement practitioner has a chance to catch up with certain activities that we often just don’t have time for during much of the year. I always enjoyed these few weeks when I was a CPO, as you could actually do a bit of “thinking” and maybe catch up on things I’d been meaning to do for ages but hadn’t quite got round to.

So in the next few days we’ll have a look at some of those topics you might want to consider over the rest of July and August, before we hurtle back into the maelstrom of September. (It will be Christmas before we know it ...)

There are many areas of interest that might be worth considering, but here are some of the potential topics that might be worth including on your list;

  1. People – if you have staff working for you, how are they doing? Half way through the calendar year, do their training and development plans look appropriate? What more could you / they do in the second half of 2015?
  2. Technology – is it working for you? Are you happy with your ERP systems? eSourcing or spend analytics? And what about the more leading edge stuff – have you looked at market-informed sourcing, risk or supplier relationship management related tools?
  3. Stakeholders – who are your allies in the business? What about your enemies? How can you convert the latter into the former?
  4. Events – which conference, workshops, webinars, and dinners are you going to attend through the September – December period? You know there are plenty on offer – why not think strategically about which can bring you the most value, rather than leaving it to the last minute?

That’s just a few thoughts for now. The important thing is to use the time wisely, and get on the front foot for the autumn. And if you ever think “no, there’s nothing really I need to do differently or additionally” - then you need to change jobs, as soon as possible!

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