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20 August 2011 | Rebecca Ellinor
Purchasing has to be more aware of how it represents the profession to stakeholders, according to the senior procurement manager at Virgin Holidays.
Ed Worthington, one of the speakers at this year’s CIPS Conference, said he’s seen procurement managers at all levels blaming ‘engagement’ issues on the client departments and encouraged them to take a more objective approach.
“Sit down with your stakeholders, set out your challenges and explain why they are important, work with stakeholders to fix the issues,” he said. “Perhaps the root cause is actually one where the procurement department does not add the value it thought it did. Maybe procurement is not flexible and reactive enough. Maybe it has never clearly explained what is expected of the client department.”
He recommends buyers figure out who they need to influence and prioritise those people. “Spend as much time as possible with them, ask lots of questions and listen to the answers.”
He also suggests purchasing and supply professionals gen up on the area the stakeholder works in – be it marketing, legal, operations etc – including the jargon, business challenges and technical systems they use. “Make a conscious effort to learn about a field and recall as much as possible.”
Worthington also warned against assuming that an approach that worked in your last organisation will work just as well somewhere new. “Learn to adapt and be flexible in your development of a strategy as you spend more time working in the business,” he added.
Read more about his advice on stakeholder engagement in the feature that appeared in the September issue of Supply Management.
☛ Ed Worthington is speaking at the CIPS Conference 2011 on 6 October on how to create and develop a procurement strategy, click here to secure your place.