Procurement Talent – at ProcureCon

Three presentations made up the procurement talent-management-themed stream at ProcureCon Europe last month, and each brought up some interesting points:

Firstly, Ann-Francoise Versele, Procurement Excellence Manager and Global Category Manager, Corporate Services, NV Bekaert, shared her experience of Building the Right Team to Move from Tactical Buying to Strategic Value Creation. She began by explaining that for a diverse company, like Bekaert, which values long-term relationships with business partners, it is important that procurement develops from volume bundling and price negotiations to strategic supply chain management.

Crucial to developing procurement is getting its structure right. Their Procurement is organised in a way that complements how the business is organised. They have a controller in procurement for each region, a supply chain excellence group, a P2P process manager and a procurement excellence manager, all reporting progress back into the business.

The mission is to create ‘a cutting-edge function’ as a business partner for suppliers. They aim to look at the whole value chain, going backwards from the customer needs to how they work with suppliers, looking at how they can create value, and where to make the biggest contribution.

The key, she says, is to create value for both supplier and buyer, by working on values other than price, and looking at ‘totality.’

What you need to build a leader team:

Leadership – CPOs must lead by example, be the motivator with a clear vision, this requires teamwork and energy.

Involve senior and junior people alike – people in procurement traditionally were not seen as true business partners, but that has changed.

Diversity – don’t be clones of each other. (At Bekaert 55% of the top team are female. 14 different nationalities make up the top team, and they come from diverse professional backgrounds, like law and engineering.)

Training – is really important. It is Skills that make a difference in business. So have development plans for people, keep them motivated.

Cross-functional exchanges – appoint business people into procurement roles – they see both angles and bring different skills.

Clear targets – if everyone has the same targets they all work to the same goal.

Then Mike Beresford, Director of Business Development, Allegis Global Solutions, talked about Market Factors Impacting the Way Businesses Hire and Retain Staff Today.

Services procurement is more exciting now, he says. Talent and how companies use it has evolved – how do we spend to get the best value from them when 48% of staff is expected to be contingent by end 2018 and 92% of organisations see contingent labour as vital to the business.

There are several types of labour - but who controls how we gain competitive advantage from the right resource? What are the costs? How do we compare them? And most importantly – who knows? Who is asking these questions?

It used to be HR; Procurement’s responsibility was in buying freelancers, contracts and consulting. But who does that for talent?

The answer is – it doesn’t exist. The future is having a talent team, using technology to identify talent, get insight from the supply chain, and understand what we have in the organisation already.

And we need to consider mobility, in terms of where you get talent from – this is changing too. Many companies now look to places like India and China for employment channels – Slovakia and Slovenia are also a massive talent base – these are especially attractive as low-cost locations for IT shared services centres, for example.

Organisations are thinking differently about breaking the mould. Consider, there are 400 000 French living in London – it’s a massive talent pool. We need to think about where talent will be over the next two years.

In the future, might there be a universal talent pool? TAssS, perhaps, created to get the best talent for a project. Why hire when you don’t need to? The key for now is to understand existing talent, even for lower-value pieces of work. AI is coming and it will impact our world. We will have more choice, we will no longer look at individuals, but use analytics to identify best solutions based on scenarios that have gone before.

Finally, Aamir Shaukat, Chief Procurement Officer, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, spoke about Training Behaviours and Processes to Keep Your Procurement Team Agile and Ready for the Future.

He began with Darwin’s mantra: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.”

Talent management is a top priority today, you have to be able to balance the functional skills (sourcing strategies or legal skills) with leadership competencies. But the best development plans do both. Career path is critical – breadth and depth of experiences are needed to progress to a senior role. You have to be able to manage cost/cash/growth and relationships, altogether.

You can use mastery and intentionality as a competitive edge:

Mastery can be achieved using a procurement playbook approach – knowing exactly what to do step by step for each scenario. We achieve mastery by doing something again and again.

Intentionality becomes reality – this is the power to turn intention into reality. Use the power of language and outperform your mindset. And remember to keep in mind: Accountability, Simplicity, Focus, Agility, and Discipline.

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