Procurement Success in 2018 – Some Simple (But Important) Reminders

Happy New Year and welcome back after the holiday season – we are getting back to full coverage here at the dynamic head office of Spend Matters after a break full of bacchanalian excess, lavish parties and over-indulgence.

OK, that’s a lie. But if you're really interested, I could bore you with all the details of  my five-and-a-half-hour drive from Surrey to Sheffield on December 27th, as I avoided motorway pile ups, vehicles on fire on the M1, grid-lock in Chesterfield … my last few miles (to avoid Chesterfield) I ended up driving half way up into the Pennines, which was incredibly beautiful after the overnight snow.

Anyway, it is traditional that we pontificate about the prospects for 2018 at this time of year, as well as suggesting some resolutions, ideas or goals that procurement professionals might want to adopt. So, in that spirit, here is our advice – very simple really. It is just to remember these four key points.

+ Procurement’s role is to lead in terms of the interface between our organisation and external supply markets.*

+ Procurement must in all situations strive to be aligned with the organisation’s objectives, goals and culture.

+ Procurement supports and achieves value for our organisations by a duality of approach in terms of that external supply - managing risk and looking for opportunities.

+ Procurement has only two raw materials available to deliver against those first three points. They are people and tools (which generally means technology these days). Everything procurement achieves is through people using those tools appropriately.

(*Note that “lead” does not mean “do everything ourselves”. Also note that “interface” includes participating in decisions around internal versus external supply where appropriate).  

Simple really! But perhaps in terms of New Year resolutions, start with the last of those points. Do you personally have the skills you need to succeed, grow and thrive in 2018? Does your function or your organisation have the commercial and related skills, attitudes and experience that are needed? And do you have tools that will support your people in achieving success?

If not, look at how you can start to address that in 2018. Remember, you can’t go from zero to hero in 12 months, but also remember that going from a position as a lower-quartile procurement function to being a mid-range performer is just as worthwhile (and difficult) as moving from being good to being a true leader.

Good luck anyway, and all our best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful 2018.

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