Quick Wins for the New Procurement Leader – the Raw Materials

We recently published a briefing paper titled Quick Wins for the New Procurement Leader – sponsored by the good people at BravoSolution. It is based on the Real World Sourcing session Peter Smith led in early December; the event was well received so we thought it was worth turning the material into a paper everyone could enjoy.

In the paper, we look at five areas that can bring rapid benefits for a procurement executive moving into a new job. That applies not just at CPO level but in any position of some authority. Every situation is different of course, but these are five areas that we believe will be interesting to the majority of organisations at those times when an executive is faced with this sort of challenge.

You can download the paper here from the BravoSolution website, free on registration. Here is today’s extract, looking at two aspects that are totally fundamental to good procurement performance; people and technology. Those are in a sense the only two things we have to work with …

Quick Wins for the New Procurement Leader (extract)

The building blocks of success for procurement, the "raw materials" if you like, are people and tools, with "tools" in the main meaning technology. When we think about performance, those two factors are really all we have to work with to generate the outputs and results that procurement delivers to the organisation. Therefore, it is an absolute certainty that as you get into your new role, performance improvement will involve addressing one or both of these - if you are more capable than your predecessor then, of course, that is in effect already starting to be addressed!

The beauty of starting sooner rather than later is that you can get away with taking actions when you are new that are much more difficult later on. So a new manager can introduce a staff skills and capability review and it is almost expected. Do that two years into the job, and everyone will wonder “why now,” and hostility may well develop. So there is a brief window of opportunity when you’re new into a role, and the earlier a manager can gain a good understanding of their team's capabilities, their strengths and weaknesses, then the better.

Assuming you can get some sense of capability early on, then you need to decide quickly whether action is needed in terms of staff. That may be decisive action – a recruitment programme, a new training approach – or it might be explorative, such as a detailed skills assessment. But move fast. If you are in a major people-management role, some would advocate firing someone early on, just to show you are in charge!

(Download the full paper here)

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