Quick Wins for the New Procurement Leader

This is one of those useful, practical, sound advice papers that we believe every Procurement leader should have on their virtual shelf. It follows the success of the last BravoSolution Real World Sourcing (now Real World Procurement) session we did at the end of last year. (These webinars are designed to provide procurement professionals with essential real world insight into procurement practices, given by real world CPOs.) Last year’s final webinar in the series was such a success that we decided to share some of the output from the session and make it available to our readers.

It is a fairly short briefing paper, yet packed with content that gets straight to the point. Written by Peter Smith, seasoned procurement expert, and sponsored by BravoSolution, the eProcurement specialists, it is a combination of professional advice and first-hand knowledge to help you make a good impression in your new role. Whether you are promoted into a senior category role with two or three buyers and analysts reporting to you, or you have just been appointed Global Chief Procurement Officer of a large conglomerate, or you have moved companies into a similar or new position, you will be the “newbie” and it is incumbent on you to make changes that demonstrate your ability (and worthiness) to be in the role.

It’s always a challenge, existing staff will have expectations of you and you need to deliver – quickly. But if the organisation can start to see visible and tangible evidence that you are having some early impact, you will begin to build positive credibility, which can lead to building capability and performance in the longer term.

This paper explores five areas for potential quick wins, and explains how you can make them happen. These are: Spend Analysis -- identify opportunities for rapid supplier rationalisation, demand aggregation or better compliance; Challenging long-term contracts – those that may have slipped into a less than competitive state over time; People and Technology – the core tools for any leader, taking action rapidly here can deliver rapid benefits and also set up longer-term initiatives and performance; Auctions – a specific quick win, they can generate significant savings and be an excellent way of demonstrating internally what benefits procurement can bring. Finally, Talking to Suppliers – this seems simple, but they are the organisations that are very well placed to provide the new leader with some good ideas for improving value and driving improvement.

The paper finishes with conclusions and some key takeaways. It’s a worthwhile read that will take very little of your time while furnishing you with some solid, actionable advice.

You can download the paper free on registration here on the BravoSolution website:

Quick Wins for the New Procurement Leader

And to give you a taste of what’s to come, here’s an extract from the Introduction:

Introduction

Many procurement practitioners will, at some point in their working lives, be a "new procurement leader.” That applies to any management role - because leadership is an ever-present element of management, just as management skills contribute towards leadership.

So whether you are promoted into a senior category role with two or three buyers and analysts reporting to you, or you have just been appointed Global Chief Procurement Officer of Apple or BP, you have both an opportunity and something to prove. Being new gives you a great opportunity to challenge the sacred cows, to ask difficult or naive questions, or to change things around.

On the other hand, there is also the challenge. You know that people, whether that is your staff, suppliers or senior colleagues, will be asking questions about you. Is the new man any good? Should she have been promoted into that role at her age? Does he seem to know what he's doing? How does she compare to the previous holder of the job?

So it is important to combine two approaches in your early days in the role. You will be expected to define a strategy and turn that into plans and actions, for your function, category, project or role, but you normally get given some time to do that. No-one expects a brand new 20-page strategy document delivered during your first week in the job! But it is important to start the thinking and strategy development process sooner rather than later.

Alongside this though, it is important to demonstrate some “quick wins.” These will help to answer those questions that are being asked in a positive manner. If the organisation can see visible and tangible evidence that you are having some early impact, that will start to build positive credibility. That can lead to building capability and performance in the longer term.

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