Loading...
 
 

People are the answer ... and the problem

Published: 26 Apr 2016 Average Rating: unrated Print
 

Author: Tim Cummins

'But the starting point, as always, is people.' Those are the concluding words in a blog on ThinkProcure.

The author, Stephen Ashcroft, is a procurement leader with an inquisitive and open mind. In his blog, he compares and contrasts findings from a recent survey (which he finds depressing) with the inspirational presentations he encountered at a recent conference.

He found those presentations inspirational because it involved leaders with a vision for the future, of how to ensure that supply and supplier management delivers real value.

 

He found the survey depressing because it paints a very different picture, of practitioners struggling to do more than negotiate transactional arrangements with (often) the wrong suppliers and then failing to manage their performance. That's exactly what the rest of the business sees – a group that is frequently focused on the wrong thing, or on just a minor element of the overall process. Indeed, recent data from one CEO suggested that today's procurement practices focus on only 20% of the available value.

 

The optimist in Steve then makes the leap to envisage a future where all those practitioners have seen the light and suddenly they are 'breaking down barriers' and leading an 'integrated approach' across the business. All it needs is for inspired leaders to 'assemble talented Procurement people' and everything will change …

But the challenge, it seems to me, is finding those talented people. If Procurement had many of them, surely the current situation would not exist? The problem I find is that most people do not have the knowledge or the skills or the tools that are needed to change results – and the majority would prefer to be left alone to do what they are doing. They convince themselves that a) the skills they have really are the right ones anyway and b) if they hold out long enough, these 'visionaries' will go away and take their change agenda elsewhere.

On what basis do I say this? Through a combination of research and on the ground observations. And of course the issues I highlight are not unique to procurement. Our surveys show that around 80% of practitioners believe they have or are acquiring the skills they personally need for the future; and a similar percentage believe their colleagues do not have those skills or the enthusiasm to acquire them.

And if further evidence is needed, it is worth noting that the names Steve cites – those leaders who inspired him – do not actually have  background in Procurement. Like many other functions today, the leadership is being recruited from outside. (hence the similar debate for legal groups “Should the General Counsel of the future be a lawyer?”).

So Steve, I agree that today the starting point is people. But the challenge is finding the right people for the work of the future – and maybe, just maybe, they are not today's incumbent community.

 
 
 

Related Discussions

Please sign in or register to post on this forum
Anonymous
2018-10-12 14:32:00

COLLABORATION AND TEAM ROLES

A great article. Roles and responsibilities are often overlooked. We instead, as a buying organisation, like to define how something should be delivered.
 
 
 
 
Replies: 3

OneSpan North America Inc.
2015-03-03 13:27:55

Employment Agency Recommendation?

Hello - I was wondering if anyone is or has worked with a employment agency/headhunter that they would be willing to recommend. My company was recently sold and I w...
 
 
 
Replies: 2
Anonymous
2019-07-28 06:49:22

Jurisdiction

For Agreement between the Parties of differnet origin , the aurgument starts up on Jurisdiction and governing law for the AGreement. while both the Parties are interes...
 
 
 
 
Replies: 3

PRS for Music
2019-06-13 09:28:40

Customer survey

Hi, my colleagues and I are putting together a survey for our stakeholders and suppliers. the Objective is to gauge the standard of service and engagement and identify...
 
 
Replies: 1

Mobily
2019-06-13 06:49:19

Procurement and Purchasing

Hi all, Can we have a clear explanation for the differences between the terms of Procurement and Purchasing, and also the right position of the Supply Chain, is it a p...
 
 
 
 
 
Replies: 4

General Electric
2019-02-11 10:18:29

Does a Contract/Commercial Manager require a Law Degree?

Hello All, I have been working as a Commercial Manager for 6.5 years, responsible preparation and negotiation commercial contracts for high value complex transactions(...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Older entries »
Replies: 6