I head vendor management for UK Retail & Business Banking (UKRBB) at Barclays, reporting to
the UKRBB chief operating officer. I am responsible for the service and supplier management of more than
£500 million of annual supplier spend and look after the critical, operational suppliers that support the bank.
Sourcing and supplier management functions play in a similar space. In some organisations both sit in procurement, but I’m a firm believer the business should be accountable for managing its own suppliers post contract. There are also some suppliers it makes sense to manage centrally, such as group wide technology and telecoms suppliers.
For the majority of end-to-end services I manage, I am also the budget holder and have greater accountability for ensuring we receive the optimal balance of service versus cost, while challenging demand from a process and volume perspective and driving service improvements.
If I look back at how we engage with sourcing colleagues now, versus a few years ago, the changes
small but the impact is dramatic:
- Vendor management and sourcing had individual targets, which caused friction, damaged important relationships and meant too much time was spent
agreeing who gets the benefit instead of driving value.
- All sourcing organisations I have worked with split themselves into category teams, which is very sensible. However many core processes with end-to-end business ownership cut across several categories. Trying to get someone who understands my processes at a holistic level was difficult, which, as a customer of sourcing, was very frustrating.
- In some areas of the organisation, the first time senior stakeholders heard about a deal was when they were being asked to sign it. Their strategic information, insights and experience were not being leveraged, which occasionally meant negotiations were reopened and deals delayed.
So what’s changed?
- Sourcing and vendor management now have a joint target for supplier benefits. We hold joint planning sessions to agree the ideas and projects that we will evaluate and deliver over the next 12 to 24 months and use the same deal management system to track our targets.
- Sourcing has implemented a business partner model.
I now have a business partner team that looks after UKRBB, headed up by Jonathan Spence. It’s a small team, but the value I get from having one person whose job it is to understand my business and, in the background, align the various category teams to support me, is invaluable.
- Jonathan and I recently set up a ‘supplier spend committee’ in UKRBB that we both attend with senior business leaders. Its purpose is to review spend trends across UKRBB to better manage and control supplier spend and review the deal pipeline to ensure those being sent on for approval are visible from the outset. This provides an opportunity for input at the requirements stage instead of when it’s almost too late to do
anything about it.
1. Try to implement,
wherever possible, joint targets between sourcing and the business and work together as a virtual team to deliver them.
2. Look at how you
could make life
easier for stakeholders
by implementing a
business partner model, particularly in large organisations to facilitate engagement with multiple categories.
3. Engage senior stakeholders in sourcing and supplier management; as well as
having approval boards,
set up review boards further upstream.
☛ Steve Gaunt
is director of vendor management for UK Retail and Business Banking, Barclays