The Fujitsu Procurement Transformation Story (Part 2)

Yesterday we began our review of the Fujitsu procurement transformation programme, following our discussions with Dr Clive Rees, Fujitsu’s CPO in Europe and the Americas, and Nic Walden of The Hackett Group, who supported Rees in the programme.

Perhaps the most interesting element of the work for us was this. The team identified no less than 300 influential procurement users / stakeholders within the Fujitsu EMEA region, and gave each a single nominated point of contact within procurement – an account manager, if you like. Their role is to make sure the internal client understands what procurement is doing and what it can do to help, and the aim is to meet at least every six weeks to review the interface with procurement.

“We’ve also used this as part of the development programme for our people. Senior procurement executives might have 10 or more clients to manage, but we have given quite junior people one or two and we believe it helps our people develop their confidence, the right inter-personal skills, and gives them exposure to the wider business,” said Rees.  In all, around 60 procurement staff are involved in the initiative, one that strikes us as very replicable by procurement functions in other organisations.

Nic Walden had this to say about this element of the programme.

“The client contact is mapped out, and the procurement team becomes aware of every senior new role or person in the organisation they need to consider. They execute these important steps – they contact and communicate with them; they make a point of understanding their particular business objectives; they understand what type of person they are; they collect information and keep up to date with issues and goals in those business teams”.

Indeed, this client-mapping approach is really quite unusual in our experience. Many talk about procurement being “closer to the business” or “aligning with business objectives”, but this is a rare, very good and practical example of really putting this into practice.

We then asked Rees how the role of procurement is changing more generally.

“More is expected of us and our systems. The role involves a lot of sifting and managing information to provide intelligence into the business, to be a trusted adviser. We still have category plans, and elements of those are shared with the business. But we also want to be flexible and proactive to meet changing client needs”.

As well as the innovative client role described above, people initiatives include also job shadowing, mentoring and secondments. “If we want more from our people we have to provide support and encouragement, we want them to feel valued”.  Rees drew on external good practice to develop training material and indeed to inform the programme generally, using The Hackett Group both for specific advice and as a sounding board for ideas.  “Hackett helped in a number of areas including advice on how to structure the function and category management approaches”.  That external perspective and ability to draw on other’s experiences – via The Hackett Group and directly through other contacts, attending conferences and so on - was valuable, he says.

We asked about other lessons learnt from the programme. “The change is cultural as much as anything, getting people to embrace different approaches”. But there are more tangible issues too. Getting a common taxonomy for spend was important – “we need to know our numbers, as well as markets and clients. That is vital when we have conversations with the business”.

And a key element of the desired culture change is about speed and agility – something we have written about recently here  (on The Hackett Group again) and here. “Today, our businesses just don’t have time for us to run traditional procurement processes in many cases. We have to add value whilst moving at their pace”.

Very true – and our thanks to Clive and Nic for sparing the time to give us an insight into the impressive Fujitsu transformation programme.

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