Implementing a Holistic Procurement Transformation Programme: Quick Tips

We are pleased to welcome back Ashima Malik as a guest writer for Spend Matters. Ashima is an experienced sourcing professional, now working as a Senior Consultant for Infosys BPO.

Lose weight now! Ask me how!

As a new-again mother, apart from the other things that kept my mind occupied was: Weight Loss, err ... health management plan! Before I let the euphemism get the better of me, let me just stress that priming for 'the battle of the bulge' isn’t just confined to the sweat-laden gymnasiums. Our very own procurement organisations are fraught with getting into a leaner and meaner avatar, in pursuit of their eight pack transformations!

What follow below are the rules of engagement that, in my experience, befit each of the afore-mentioned pursuits:

  1. It's important to make a start: We all tend to suffer from inertia and are given to procrastination especially as far as starting something new and disruptive is concerned. At an organisational level, procurement leadership has often been guilty of putting away the transformation decisions based on perceived lack of: executive support, well-defined scope, visibility and control. My last blog on how to make a head start into this journey was published by Spend Matters, here The Buffet of Sourcing and Procurement Services – and a choice of Salads too!
  1. Take a holistic view: It is important to evaluate the metrics for processes, policies, practices, customer satisfaction against the BIC benchmarks to identify the gaps with regards to specific areas. This evaluation would serve as an input to the roadmap for achieving results in the short, mid- and long-term.
  1. Find the right coach: A right transformation partner not only helps in assessing the current situation with established benchmarks, but charts on a planned implementation to achieve the desired goals. The partner needs to match and go beyond an organisation’s vision of success to bring in their experience and knowledge to challenge stereotypes. S/he should, also, not be shy of saying ‘No’ if/as needed.
  1. Tune per your body type: Unsurprisingly, a cookie cutter approach is counter-productive and an inefficient way of implementing any transformation. The variance of policies, processes, localisation aspects, cultures and technology landscape within an enterprise call for customised solutions, more often than not. A careful segmentation into tiers is required to define and manage a global rollout approach in these scenarios. 
  1. Sometimes shortcuts work too: Coexisting and potentiality conflicting dynamics in an enterprise can affect the appetite for the degree of transformation considerably. A piecemeal approach may be required in this case from mid-to-short term horizon. There is thus a growing trend of discrete service offerings from spend diagnostics programmes to category control towers and assembly line RFX factories to manage through the change. 
  1. Smart equipment is worth it: Investing in futuristic tools for automation, comprehensive spend and supplier visibility, makes perfect business sense as a transformation is as much about commoditising not just the tactical, but even the strategic aspects of source-to-pay. It involves letting the system take the strain and evolve from incipient demands to predictive and proactive management of spend and transactions. However, it is important to align technology investment to the long-term strategy from the perspective of consolidation and standardisation across geographies and functions.
  1. Stay motivated - Early wins are critical: A disruptive change isn’t easy - Beetroot? – now, it tastes like feet! but then it’s all about tipping the scales! There might be some amount of second guessing especially at the beginning of the transformation journey. However, it is important to stay motivated and focus on the early wins to drive adoption and manage change. Ensuring transparency of processes, providing visibility of progress and ‘what to expect’ goes a long way in promoting change management with a focused group of stakeholders.
  1. Support system is very important: Last but not the least, blessings and commitment of the top management to the initiative, however small, cannot be ignored. It would go a long way in driving change management especially with mandated factors like policy reforms, flagging non-compliance, zero tolerance, and so on.

Enough said. Now if you would allow me, it’s time to hit the treadmill again  …

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