Does your procurement team know what they are supposed to do?

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A few weeks ago I went to a workshop with a group of procurement professionals. The objective was to review the procurement process. Somehow, throughout time, there have being additional steps added and it has grown to a cumbersome process. Many times CPO´s from different lines of business included additional steps to the process. The category managers and analysts complains brought about the so called workshop to revise and optimize the process. The workshop follow a very systematic approach, a review step by step of all parts of the process, citing the points of pain and then creating suggestions on how to improve the process. It was a large group from different procurement teams, from different lines of business. Many interesting suggestions rose. What caught my attention was that many of them were just following “a process” and had little understanding of the reasons why they did what they did. Some of the attendees where just in a mission to cut steps to make them work less, no matter what the purpose of the steps were.

This made me think that every now and then, you have to sit with your procurement team and explain why you do the things you do. First and most of all, let them understand that a procurement department is set to ADD VALUE to the organization. This is achieved with the several initiatives that come about when you study and procure a category out of the total spend of the organization. Key performance indicators (KPI) are set to measure the results of the set objectives, but are not set to be the main objective. So when a procurement professional encounters a category or a project to contract, buy or procure, they will know exactly what needs to be done. If your procurement team has this understanding, they will know why each step of a process is a tool to meet the objective and not the objective in itself.

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