Procurement teams need constant evolution

10 October 2013

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11 October 2013 | Gurjit Degun

Procurement professionals must adapt to changing business needs, according to Nick Jenkinson, head of procurement at DMG Media.

Speaking at the CIPS Annual Conference at Kings Place in London yesterday, Jenkinson explained how he helped his team to think more creatively and in line with what stakeholders want.

Having won the CIPS SM Award for Most Improved Purchasing Operation – Start Up in 2012, Jenkinson claimed the team could not rest on its laurels because the business expected more. He explained the team needed to look into evolving procurement, and realised all the issues it faced were to do with stakeholders.

“I came to the conclusion that you’re not going to change the stakeholders,” he said. “What you need to do is change your own behaviour, how we interact with them and how we start to impact the business drivers.” 

Jenkinson said he looked at developing his team’s skill set and split it into three areas – fundamentals: to make sure everyone is good at the day job; enablers: to provide greater market insight and make the stakeholders’ life as simple as possible; and differentiators: to act as a change agent by understanding the problems and generating ideas on how to solve them.

He developed a creativity programme, part of which involved taking the team into a music recording studio to make a couple of records to sell and raise money for charity. “We had no musical ability, but getting the team to think about what creativity is was a great way to kick it off and get the team into the right mind-set.”

This also involved changing the office environment by introducing an area that people could use to sketch and other tools to trigger creativity.

He added: “The last four years has changed my opinion on mandates. If we had had mandates, we would have been far more focused on what we wanted, rather than what the business wanted.

“It’s far more satisfying that people work with us because they want to work with us and they see the value that we bring, as opposed to the kind of mandate that someone needs to work with procurement.

“I think what procurement will be in the next three to five years is very different. Business is moving quickly, they’re expecting more than doing the day job. How we evolve people is much more significant.”

Jenkinson urged procurement professionals to focus on constantly evolving their team. “Focus totally on thinking about the business and not necessarily about what we want in procurement,” he said.

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