Taking into account the experience of end-users is crucial to successfully implementing new procurement technology, a conference was told.
Introducing technology to support the procurement function takes a lot of time to get right. Scott McKenna, procurement operations manager at insurance firm Royal London told delegates at eWorld Procurement and Supply that involving end-users of the technology throughout the design process was key to a successful implementation at the firm.
The firm, which has a £350m annual supplier spend, is currently in its second year of a three-year procurement strategy to transform its technological capability and enhance the way it manages the full procurement lifecycle, from e-procurement to contract and supplier management.
“There was limited technology usage across the procurement function and it was very much a cultural thing. We used manual Word documents and RFPs. We were evaluating through Excel templates. This is a huge transformation for us,” McKenna explained.
The strategy aims to eliminate problem areas for Royal London’s procurement team such as time-intensive manual processes, a lack of central visibility of contracts and limited reporting capabilities.
Royal London’s legal team, technology and change department, risk team and its suppliers are all impacted by the new procurement technology, McKenna said.
A key challenge for the procurement team was resistance to change from end-users, but McKenna said involving end-users in the design process onwards allowed the technology to be implemented effectively.
“People are naturally resistant to change. We had undergone quite a few structural changes [at Royal London] and a lot of our team were new so there was a willingness to embrace technology and it was a much healthier position to start with,” he said.
“We did have challenges but it was just ensuring people were fully involved on that journey. That’s the real key learning from us. It’s making sure they are fundamentally involved at every stage of the process. People that have been with the organisation longer can be more resistant to change but leveraging the experience they have is really important.”
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