Pierre Mitchell on Design-Centred Procurement

As well as being one of the top procurement technology analysts in the world, our colleague Pierre Mitchell in the US has a deep understanding of what organisations need in terms of procurement strategy, organisations, metrics and capabilities.  He has now written a very thought-provoking series of articles (which together form a single “white paper”) all about “design-centred procurement”, and we think everyone in procurement should read his work. Originally that was behind our subscription service paywall, but it has now been made available to everyone. Hooray!

Pierre looks at how the best businesses work out what their customers want, and then use design principles to make sure they deliver it. He applies that to the question of how procurement functions and people can and should ensure that they are meeting the needs of their “customers”, which means demonstrating agility, minimising waste and performing efficiently – but perhaps most of all, it means solving problems that are relevant for our stakeholders.

In part 1 here, he introduces the idea, and draws some parallels with the automotive industry. As he says:

"As such, we decided to write a series on how design-centred thinking can be applied to not only product and service design, but also to the design of:

  • the supply chain creating the products and services
  • the procurement organization itself as an internal services-based solution provider
  • a platform and portfolio of software-based and services-based solutions that procurement deftly taps and embeds into its agile operating model"

In part two here, he gets into how procurement groups can influence their stakeholders, discussing the idea of segmenting “customers” more deeply before we work out how to engage best with them.

"So, the questions for practitioners to ask themselves are:

  • Have we segmented our customers (i.e., stakeholders) and tailored our engagement strategies for them?
  • Have we captured how they define success of the buying process and understand their role (and yours) in it? Do you know how they approach it (e.g., a supplier management centric approach versus a sourcing-centric approach) or even how they talk about it (e.g., Marketing groups using the term “investment” rather than “spend”)?
  • Have we performed a “voice of the customer” effort to capture their prioritized expectations from suppliers and from you (and performance against those expectations)?
  • Have we included technology systems-specific feedback (that IT can use too)"?

There is at least one more part to come from Pierre, or if you like, you can download the entire white paper today, free on registration, to get the full story all in one PDF!

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