Are you driving enough innovation?

Gurjit Degun
13 May 2014

Gurjit Degun © Akin Falope14 May 2014 | Gurjit Degun

A panel session on innovation at the Institute for Supply Management conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, last week gave great examples pointing out the importance of embracing new ideas.

Members of the panel shared their innovative methods of helping business. Milton Young managing director of Mopani Holdings, explained that he made use of interns from a local university to help with a project that needed completing last summer.

“The interns were working so fast that two weeks worth of work [was being completed] in five days,” he told delegates at the conference. “My business case was that we needed to implement the new system before year-end. We only had so many people to do it, [and going through our HR department to hire people would have taken over six weeks]. We hired 14 interns in engineering, business, IT and finance. So that’s an example of utilising innovative use of resources.”

He added: “We all have to [embrace] innovation. The only way to get to being successful is to constantly innovate.”

Tom Maher, vice president for global service parts at Dell, encouraged practitioners to provide feedback regardless of whether an idea is taken forward because this has helped increase innovation at Dell.

However, he also believes that procurement leaders need to push ideas to the top if there is to be any change. “If you look at the history of business, it’s not the great idea that helps the business, it’s the one that makes it to the top table,” he said. “You have to give a voice to every individual.”

According to the panel, procurement professionals should be constantly encouraging innovation to improve the function. But with many other pressures of the job, where on the list does this fit in? What are you doing to help develop ideas and then push them to the top?

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