What Procurement Professionals Can Learn From That Internet Obsession, Candy Crush

Spend Matters welcomes a guest post from Sanyam Khurana of GEP.

The latest rage in Internet gaming is Candy Crush. I hardly know anyone who, having started playing, has abandoned it in the middle of a game. Yes, the addiction is widespread across all age groups and the firm now is hoping to come up with a strong IPO in the market as well. While I have been playing the game for over 150 levels now, I introspected on some important lessons that game leaves on my mind from the perspective of my work, particularly as a procurement consultant.

While there may be many different lessons to be learnt by different individuals, the top three I have definitely taken back with me are as follows:

Operating Under Constraints

The number of permitted moves is the first thing one notices on any level, and it becomes tougher as one moves up the levels. The same story applies to a procurement professional’s workday. Operating within constraints is a daily routine. Limited data points, strenuous supplier relationships, aggressive and short timelines, ever demanding stakeholders, and abysmal information on scope of deals are just a few examples how procurement is forced to work.

What one can take back from Candy Crush is that one needs to list out the constraints in the deal and work around them to achieve the best results. The same way one works to get to cross a wrapped candy and striped candy within limited moves to eliminate multiple rows and columns, procurement professionals should aim to best utilize the available resources to achieve the best results.

Importance of planning ahead

A good eye is key to a successful level in the game. It helps achieve the results faster by tackling the challenges of being cornered with different colored candies and losing out on the moves. The moves that a procurement professional makes in a deal need to be strategic – and best strategies are made with a good eye on the current scenarios of market, data, and requirements.

Keeping an open mind on market conditions and changing supplier landscapes gives a good lead to plan ahead of time on supplier health for selections in the RFx. For internal data, the ability to track the spend, supplier performances, and internal requirements helps define the right sourcing method of supplier, giving an edge on negotiations and helping to craft a strong contract.

Strategize, plan, and execute

Given that one needs a good eye on information and needs to operate under the constraints, the next step is strategize, plan, and execute the game to aim for a three-star level completion. A procurement professional aims to get a top-star performance for their sourcing project, which is a combination of successful sourcing strategy, a meticulous plan of project schedule, and flawless execution of negotiations. Keeping the business satisfied on the deal is also an aim, alongside managing to meet one’s savings targets and operational excellence to get the deal through.

For more interesting thinking on procurement, visit the GEP Knowledge Bank.

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