Mickey North Rizza at the BravoConnect Conference – Unlocked Procurement

At the recent BravoConnect event, Mickey North Rizza gave a keynote speech titled “Moving from Conventional Procurement to UNLOCKED Procurement”. She was a respected Gartner analyst before joining BravoSolution around three years ago, and her structured and thoughtful approach to procurement shone through during her session.

Our only criticism might be that there was a huge amount of content in her remarks, so inevitably topics were raised briefly and then on we went to the next – when a single topic might be “risk” or “skills” you can see how long she could have spent if each one had been examined in detail! Her ten key points that defined unlocked procurement are:

  1. ‘e’fficient, ‘e’ffective, & value driven
  2. Proactive
  3. Optimised Procurement Service Delivery
  4. Opportunistic
  5. Supply Market Focused
  6. IT Investments = Maximised ROI
  7. Knowledge & Talent Organised for Success
  8. 360° Business Alignment
  9. Risk Eliminator
  10. Supplier & Partner Facilitator

Rather than going through all of this in full detail, let’s pull out some of the most interesting comments from North Rizza.

- We have to measure the behaviours we want to change, our own and those of others, whether it is savings, internal efficiency or supplier performance. And she talked about the “value triangle” – how do you impact on category budgets, KPIs and goals, procurement KPIs and metrics, and what the business is trying to achieve?

- In terms of approach, she wants procurement to be opportunistic rather than a “conciliator”. I wasn’t sure “opportunistic” was quite the right word, that always sounds somewhat unstructured to me, but her message was right – we always have to seek business value and innovation from the supply base, not just accept the status quo. And to do that, we must have a supply market focus, looking outwards.

- She talked about IT investment and made an excellent point. Organisations tend to focus a lot of effort at the implementation phase of new systems and technology. Yet it is actually the phase (often less considered) when the system is in use that delivers value. That's where the real effort is needed  - and where the reward comes from.

- Alignment was another key focus for her. But somewhat shockingly, whilst 65% of organisations have an agreed upon strategy, only 14% of employees understand the strategy, and fewer than 10% of organisations successfully execute against it. Misalignment can come from poor data, different definitions and poor communication, but whether it is getting procurement aligned with the wider business strategy, or communicating the functional strategy internally, getting alignment is obviously key.

- A business partnering role for procurement rather than a gatekeeper or administrator is her vision – hard to argue with! The trick of course is having the skills to pull that positioning off - it's not always as easy as it sounds.

There was a lot more content during her session, and we may come back to it again; there was plenty to consider and debate in another good session at Bravo Connect.

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