IMPA London conference speaker, Paul Joesbury has some advice for purchasing professionals who would like to change the way their procurement departments work.
Change is usually met with resistance, especially if the change is significant – which is why building the business case for procurement transformation is arguably the most critical step in the process.
If you’re about to start planning your transformation or have become stuck part way through, fear not - help is at hand.
These four top tips from procurement transformation expert and IMPA London speaker, Paul Joesbury will help you on your way.
I’d start with building a compelling case, really understanding the reasons behind why you would undertake the transformation in the first place and what you need to address. Otherwise you’ll spend a lot of time and effort in getting nowhere.
The first thing to do is discuss with all the stakeholders in the business as to what their perception of procurement is, as it stands, and what their expectations are of the procurement transformation.
You typically find that different people have different views of what procurement is. Some will see procurement as just focused on prices and the process as bureaucratic, others will see it as a driver of value in the business.
All those mental models need to be out on the table in order to address them. Unless they’re addressed early on in the process they’ll become an undermining factor and chip away the credibility of procurement.
Determining where the organisation sits and where the key stakeholders sit helps you to determine the things that you need to focus on. You can plan how to unite the stakeholders and understand the processes you need to put in place to deliver the transformation.
You are likely to meet some resistance when building your case. It’s quite common. What some organisations do well is stakeholder mapping. This is where you look at individuals and ask if they are supporters, undecided or blocking the process. This allows you to build a strategy for each individual.
How do you get the supporters to be more supportive and overtly support the process? How do you convince those that are undecided to support the procurement programme? And how do you convince the blockers to support the process or eliminate or mitigate the effect they will have on the process?
It is very much a case of building a strategy around stakeholders.
I worked for an organisation in which the transformation was being pushed by the chief executive. Structurally the business was based on individual business units that were autonomous and had power.
In the boardroom the CEO was saying that the transformation was critical for the business, it was going to generate savings and cash, and without fail everyone would nod in agreement.
Those same people would return to their business unit thinking that they were concerned about the transformation and would not overtly support it, and would even try to undermine it. Why? Because they were concerned about losing some of their power.
In that circumstance, I had to spend a lot of time with the MDs of those businesses just to get their views and their teams' views, understand within each of those units who had the power. If I couldn’t directly influence the MD, who in the MD’s team was close enough to be able to influence that I could work on?