The key word we should all be keeping in mind, as we anticipate 2018 is “transformation”. Procurement is set to evolve, compelled by overwhelming trends in the sector, like technological innovation, the imperative for enhanced risk management strategies and the management of relationships with suppliers.
Where will procurement be in 2018? It will be evolving into a function which adds even greater value to the institutions it serves. Here’s how you can manage the changes looming on the horizon.
Setting clear goals.
While it’s true that change is inevitable, it’s not a make work project. Change should serve a clear purpose and be driven by its potential to improve the way you do things.
Look for specific changes that answer hopeful and constructive trends. Risk management down the supply chain is one which demands your attention. Technological change which facilitates clear communication and nimble response to supply-side difficulties is another.
Both these transformational projects bear in them the potential to render substantial fruit. Be clear about why you’re pursuing the project, what it’s going to improve and the value it’s going to add to procurement’s function.
By approaching change with an eye to sharing its goals with all stakeholders clearly, you’re offering a rationale for what you’re undertaking. Everything concerning the project should be relayed, with continuous updates to all concerned. Transformation is a good thing, but when the rationale for it is unclear, it’s difficult to obtain buy in from key people.
Pace yourself and don’t rush what you’re doing to prove a point. Your people need time to adjust. Support the process with clear communication that invites people to educate themselves about the value of the changes your proposing. Ensure they understand that the changes proposed are positive. Describe how everyone will benefit to smooth the transition to new ways of doing things.
Transformation makes demands of people. Chances are, you’re looking at a staff that’s become complacent, because they’ve been doing things a certain way for a long time.
Shaking up that complacency can be uncomfortable. It’s not your job to make it comfortable, as a leader. It’s your job to make it clear to everyone on your procurement team that more will be expected of them and that it’s an opportunity for them to step up.
People who have become accustomed to the status quo may need the extra inducement of having key functions delegated to them. The opportunity is a compliment, but it’s also their chance to shake off their complacency in favor of showing their mettle.
Leadership which drives transformation initiatives effectively strikes a balance between force-feeding the change to shake things up and investing the process with value by demanding a little more from people who are capable, but may have gotten stuck in outgoing processes.
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