Mobile Procurement and the Interim Chief Procurement Officer

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Vroozi.

Holding an interim position isn’t easy. You step into a recently vacated role and are tasked with leading an established group with an established set of practices. Meanwhile, you likely have your own thoughts and ideas and would like to establish yourself as someone who can handle the position going forward—once the interim label is removed. This process is no easier when the interim person in question is the interim chief procurement officer.

A technology company in northern California recently lived this scenario by bringing in a new chief procurement officer (CPO) on an interim basis. In the company’s state of flux, the previous CPO took off to head for greener pastures elsewhere. The previous CPO may not have been the company’s main issue, but the department could certainly have used some help even before his departure. However, because the tech people running the company were not experts in procurement, they weren’t willing to completely commit to their new hire, thus instilling Charlie with his “interim” designation.

Charlie was more or less brought in to clean up any issues in the company’s procurement department. Having worked in a purchasing capacity in his previous job, a technology company that had recently gone under, Charlie was familiar with a set of practices that he believed would help the department to find more success. Some of the aspects of his plan included ensuring a better approach to catalog management, reducing maverick spending and generally improving the approval workflow within the organization.

While the people that put Charlie in charge certainly expected to see something from him, the group he inherited was more resistant to change. The team often traveled, yet managed to maintain quite the pack-mentality about remaining unencumbered in their purchasing. Leaning on his past experience, Charlie knew of a solution to both of these problems: mobile procurement.

Mobile procurement did not mean a wholesale set of changes for the company’s procurement department; it merely meant an improved process that incorporated all of the facets of the task already in use.

Mobile procurement allows Charlie to upload all of the catalogs from his company’s existing set of suppliers, only now it enhances his team’s ability to search for solutions. Multiple integrated search methodologies allow for a familiar B2C-like shopping user interface, with partition views of catalog data by department, region, business unit and more.

Although the team was previously resistant to going through an approval process just to place a routine purchase request, mobile procurement streamlines the approval workflow for catalog content by sending an alert right to Charlie’s phone, so he can quickly approve or alter the order, keeping operations moving along quickly and smoothly.

Even Charlie’s budget-conscious bosses were pleased, as the mobile procurement process helped to reduce both spending costs and administrative costs, all without adding any additional hardware.

Mobile procurement allowed Charlie to improve an organizational practice that left something to be desired, winning over his entire organization in the process. The well-planned mobile solution made this transition incredibly easy and pain-free, ensuring the company did not skip a beat (or a purchase). The organization’s next step? Removing Charlie’s “interim” tag.

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