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26 April 2012 | Paul Snell
Stakeholders need to know they are getting value from working with procurement.
Speaking at the ProcureCon Indirect conference in London yesterday, Ed Worthington, procurement manager at Virgin Holidays, told delegates you can only achieve good engagement if stakeholders understand where the benefit is to them.
“The point is, clients need to feel like they are getting a good deal out of working with you. They need to feel the benefit about what procurement is. And the only reason they are going to engage with you is because they see a benefit of working with you,” he said. “That might sound really obvious, but the underlying principle is you need to demonstrate in a clear, practical and down-to-earth way what the value is to your clients. We need to be really clear and consistent in what we say to them and how we communicate.”
Worthington has a five-point approach to stakeholder engagement; demonstrate value; communicate clearly and consistently; focus your efforts; display your team’s strengths; and collaboration is king.
He also said that stakeholders could be categorised into three ‘tiers’ based on their level of engagement. The first tier includes people who don’t understand procurement and will be a challenge to convince. The second tier is those that will be easy to convince, but will need clear communication and examples of success to do so. And the third tier is those enthusiastic staff who really buy in to procurement and hold a positive impression of purchasing. These enthusiasts can be used to you advantage, he says.
“I don’t have the luxury of pulling rank when it comes to stakeholder engagement. So my challenge is to use the guys who are naturally and positively engaged for peer-to-peer support and influence at their own levels. The crucial thing is using the tier three people to influence those tier ones to make them more positively engaged about what we do.”