Successfully transforming procurement – leading tips

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
15 October 2015

Senior purchasing executives shared their thoughts on what contributes to a successful procurement transformation at the CIPS Annual Conference.

According to Miguel Caulliez, head of global procurement at Nokia, focus on the what, how and when of the change. This involves making clear what the end goal of the transformation is, making sure everyone is equipped with the right tools and processes, and highlighting there is no turning back.

“There is no point of return. I am always suspicious when I hear about plan B or plan C, because that means that mentally you are already giving up,” he said.

Other members of the panel debate highlighted the importance of creating a sense of urgency in the organisation. Simon Harnett, National Grid's head of UK procurement strategy and performance excellence and the overall winning company at this year’s CIPS Supply Management Awards, said: “You have to paint a picture of where you are moving to. You have to get your vision right, because if they aren’t getting it, you aren’t articulating it.”

He added: “To build on that vision you need to have a really clear set of success criteria. What is it exactly you are trying to achieve at a granular level and when are you going to achieve it? That really helps the organisation understand what’s in it for them.”

Communication is also crucial, said Procurious founder Tania Seary.

“We are playing a game of politics and you are campaigning when you are driving a change programme, and I don’t think people communicate enough up, down and across the organisation,” she said. “A lot of people forget it is a tireless job. It’s about communication and basically running a political campaign.”

Quick wins were highlighted as a good way of building momentum, but be careful Caulliez warned.

“Quick wins are a trap, because on one hand it is very useful to give the confidence you are on the right track, and you need that confidence in any transformation. However, this is the easy part, more difficult is the outcome. I tend not to focus on the quick wins, because I know I haven’t really done anything yet. Yes, we need them, but this is a risk.”

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