Ensuring people, processes and tools can work together in parallel is key to a successful digital transformation, according to Chassis Brakes International (CBI).
Cyrille Naux, executive VP of purchasing and supply chain, and Romain Laclaverie, global digital purchasing & procurement director at CBI, spoke to SM at the Ivalua Now conference in Paris about the challenges when undergoing a digital transformation.
According to Naux, the key to successfully implementing digital transformation in procurement is to ensure your people, processes and tools are all working in parallel to achieve your vision.
However, this balance often presents a huge challenge to organisations, especially when trying to shift from local procurement policies to a global policy.
Naux said: “That's a major challenge because you want to have people working globally, but they don't have the tools to manage it and they’re not equipped for working globally. The data we are working on is not correct and the processes in place are not global.”
To ease into the transition, Naux said it was important for his procurement team to travel to Chassis’s plants and regional locations to communicate how the new procurement policies would work.
According to Naux, organisations should begin with a wide-scale communication campaign to explain why the digital transformation is going ahead and how it will benefit the business.
He said: “If you don't start by explaining why we're doing it and what the vision is, procurement become the annoying people blocking you from buying quickly with the suppliers you know.
“I think you can’t start any transformation before having the right communication in place. Everybody should understand that it's part of a bigger vision that needs to be achieved, whatever the problems are in front of us. I think it is absolutely key.”
Laclaverie said a good starting point for streamlining and reforming processes is to start with looking at data, as revelations on how money is being spent and with which suppliers can really give businesses the “wow effect”.
Naux added: Do I have already 10 or 20 suppliers for communications? Do I have really 1,000 suppliers for cutting tools? It's just a discovery for people and then you can start working on improving, but if you don't have the wow effect, you don't know where to start.”
While thousands of digital-tool offerings are flooding the market, claiming to make the procurement process easier, Naux said it is easy to get lost in all the solutions, so procurement teams should have a clear plan of what they require.
He said: “I'm only working with the tools that I need for my business. I can tell you I need a procure-to-pay process, I need visualisation and data management tools. I need to have everything for my buyer to make good decisions.”
Laclaverie added that procurement professionals shouldn’t view tools as a one-step fix for all procurement woes, as deviating from what the tool is designed to do is where most people will encounter problems.
He said: “We always think that tools can do everything and can fulfill all your needs. At the end of the day, each company has its own way of working and it's very important to define the proper tool for the activity. If you use a tool and try to make it do something different than what it has been designed for, you will encounter problems.”
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