Foundations for Best Practice Procurement – Wax Digital / Peter Smith Webinar

I’ve recorded a webinar, which if you have a spare 25 minutes you might enjoy and find useful.

You can catch it here, free on registration and it is titled “Foundations For Best Practice Procurement”. It was developed in conjunction with spend management software firm Wax Digital.  I’m tracking the ways that organisations develop procurement capability, highlighting the key issues, opportunities and risks that tend to drive executives into investing in procurement best practice.

Frankly, it is not aimed at the real leading-edge, state-of-the-art procurement organisations like Ford, P&G or Apple, but we hope that 95% of organisations will find something of value!

Often, the trigger for action is that organisations start running into problems that have procurement (or lack of it) as their root cause. These are perhaps the four most fundamental:

  1. We don’t know what we’re spending, who spends it, on what and with which suppliers
  2. We aren’t controlling, forecasting or planning our spending properly
  3. We don’t know whether we are getting value for money from our spend
  4. We don’t know if we have the right suppliers for today and tomorrow

So when we see these issues, it can lead to various negative outcomes.  That might mean an inability for the organisation to plan financially; money wasted of course through bad deals (or no deals at all), or even fraud and corruption, along with high levels of supply chain risk. For the business, and our budget holders and internal stakeholders, we might observe and they may perceive wasted time and inefficient processes, and constraints on growth and innovation.

Then, if you talk to procurement people in this sort of “immature” organisation, as they start to look at what is not working so well, you might hear things like this:

  • “The Board want to know who our top ten suppliers are –  but we don’t have the data”
  • “We’re running around after £500 orders while marketing and IT are spending huge amounts and we’re not involved”
  • “We really should rationalise the number of suppliers we have for this spend area but I just don’t have time”
  • “The CEO is meeting some other top people at a CBI meeting and has asked us for a briefing on 3 firms we deal with. Help!”

This is about the time (we hope) senior management start realising that “something must be done”.  And the path to procurement excellence, or at least a reasonable level of competence and maturity, starts to become clear. We lay out some details about that path in the webinar, which we hope will be a useful prompt for many procurement people and organisations.  Do take a look and a listen here.

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