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Five things our most successful clients do when hiring

Blog - Five things our most successful clients do

Is your organisation struggling to hire the people it needs to progress? Do you think your recruitment process could improve?  Is it geared towards genuine talent attraction?

We have seen many organisations struggle to hire the people they want. We’ve also seen how a few simple changes can make recruitment processes much more successful so that you really do hire the best people. In our experience there a five key things that make recruitment a success – sign up below to get the full insight which will help you make a difference to your hiring.

  1. They make sure they understand the relevant talent pool and skills available at the salary grade in question
  2. Ensure everyone internally is on board, role signed off, stakeholders aligned, process planned, realistic time scales set
  3. Are clear about their go to market strategy and have invested in their talent attraction brand.
  4. Select a recruiter (external or internal) who has the market knowledge and network to source and engage relevant candidates.
  5. Make recruitment a priority to ensure good candidates aren’t lost through delays and poor expectation management.

In more detail, the best hiring companies…

  • Consider their employment proposition from a candidate’s point of view. What are the likely earnings and aspirations of an ideal candidate likely to be at their current employer? Are they offering the type of candidate they want a better package and career development? If not, they adjust the salary or the person specification. They understand the reality of the labour market for the skills needed and that if they want to source the best people who can make a difference they accept that top candidates are in short supply and do everything they can to sell their business to them. They understand they need to assess and excite the candidate at interview.
  • They accept that recruiting staff is a very costly exercise if they get it wrong. It is an essential part of any business and it pays to do it properly. They ensure it is seen as a key activity and not something that is last minute or at the end of the day. It needs to be prioritised and taken as an important activity that managers allow time for. They don’t treat it as an admin process. They champion recruitment and prioritise it at Executive level.
  • They consider what people outside their business really think of it and what the brand means in terms of career prospects and interesting work and more importantly as a place to work. They avoid the common mistake of thinking good candidates will apply anyway…they won’t. People inside the organisation may think it is a great place to work but ask why should an external person apply? What is their reputation? It is critical to find this out. Ensure that the person a candidate meets for their first interview has the gravitas to impress and motivate the candidate to take their interest further. It helps if the person is senior enough to give a real vision and understanding of the strategy of the business and the function. They don’t let a relatively junior team member do first interviews. Even a short meeting with a senior member of the function can make a significant difference to the perception given. They ensure that all the interviewers are briefed and understand what the business is looking for. They don’t assume every interviewer will know what is needed, they ensure it.
  • Pick a recruiter who is credible and really understands the specific market place and who will act as a brand ambassador. Ensure they will provide a credible message that will resonate with prospective candidates and can genuinely interest them. A poor recruiter will diminish a company’s perception in the candidate community and produce fewer candidates to consider.
  • They have a plan and stick to it. Recruitment often fails to deliver in time as most organisations don’t plan when each stage should happen or ensure all the interviewers are available. It is critical that the process runs smoothly.

The best hiring companies prioritise recruitment so interviews aren’t postponed and candidates feel that the role is important to the business. We have strong evidence that good candidates quickly become disengaged if there is a perception that the process is dragging and it also risks them getting snapped up by competitors.

They are absolutely realistic and clear from the beginning about the salary and benefits the business can offer. Too many organisations will give a salary range but are actually only able to offer at the lower end. This can be due to internal salary scales or for fear of causing problems internally if a higher figure is offered or out of budget. However this is a major and frequent mistake which can seriously mismanage candidate expectations and leads to many offer rejections. Candidates who have been approached about a role are highly unlikely to move unless there is at least a 10% increase in base salary and benefits. In a competitive market offering a small or no increase is highly unlikely to succeed unless the person has a compelling non monetary reason to move.

How do recruitment processes impact on the battle for procurement talent?

Blog - How do recruitment processes impact on the battle for procurement talent

We instigated some timely new research on the choice of recruitment and selection methods and the impact of those choices on the success rate of a getting a quality recruit in to the hiring business.

As the global economy recovers many companies are pursuing significant growth plans. Often, the key constraining factor is the ability to hire and retain the skills and expertise needed. Employer Branding and Talent Communities are becoming the new parlance of Human Resource Management as bigger corporations embrace the advent of social media to gain an advantage in finding the people they need. 

You can download our research here.

The future of your career

The Future of your Career – Part 1This article is the first in a regular series from Andrew Daley offering career development advice and sharing learning resources. Whilst aimed at procurement professionals with a desire to embrace the new era of digital procurement, this series should prove valuable to anyone seeking professional guidance on protecting the future of their career.

“Procurement faces a wake-up call as tectonic shifts in technology threaten to completely alter the function, leading eventually to its automation.” (Source: The Future Of Procurement Technology by AT Kearney).

This quote was the first slide in my presentation at the Basware Connect event in October entitled “Climbing the career ladder in an automated world”.

At SAP Ariba’s Procurement Summit a week earlier, one of the clear themes of the day was that the profession has a unique opportunity to change itself with the technology available, but it has to take responsibility to further its own agenda.

My conclusion from the two events was that the profession can’t wait and allow change to happen to it – it has the embrace the opportunity and dictate its own agenda.

Whilst on stage myself at the SAP Ariba event, I talked about the lack of spending by CPOs on training budgets as outlined by recent research from Deloitte. So my message to audiences at both events was to take personal responsibility for their own development, as it’s up to them to embrace the opportunity for the future of procurement, individually and as an entire profession.

So I’ve decided to continue this theme of developing yourself, or as one of the delegates at Basware put it “self education”, with some regular guidance on personal development that I hope will help you take advantage of all the resources available now, rather than waiting for your employer to invest in appropriate training.

People who take action now will give themselves a significant advantage over those that don’t next time they enter the job market.

This month I’m going to start by sharing what I consider to be some really useful learning resources for those seeking to understand more about the digital procurement revolution.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Spend Matters website. It’s the ideal place to stay appraised of developments in the technology and thought leadership on the skills required for the future of procurement. I’d advise frequent visits to the site. Alternatively you should follow them on Twitter for regular updates on their excellent content.

Their writers do a great job of cutting through the hype and getting to the crux of the matter. They also keep readers updated with dates for the wide variety of procurement conferences and events which they attend themselves and then write useful reviews.

If you want to dig deeper yourself and have the time, there’s a vast amount of “thought leadership” available on the evolution of procurement. The leading management consultancies and software vendors are particularly fond of publishing research and opinion so it’s well worth registering for white papers from the likes of Deloitte (here’s the 2018 CPO Study) and AT Kearney. Hackett Group has also produced some good reports on digital transformation.

Amongst the software vendors there are always plenty of learning resources available online. Some are quite salesy, while others try to be more educational.  SAP Ariba’s Procurement 2025 is a particularly good one, and talks about the golden age of procurement. You can access it here.

One of the benefits of registering to download this content is that you’ll get updated when they publish new content and potentially get invited to their events. I’m a big advocate of attending these conferences. They are a great opportunity to hear about best practice from the profession’s leaders and learn about the power of the technology available now, and in the near future. They also offer a great networking opportunity which might prove invaluable next time you are in the market for a new job!

Of course, social media is another way to find all this sort of content. You don’t need to be particularly active on the various platforms if you don’t like them, you can still gather useful information when it suits you.

Much as we love LinkedIn, the more people you connect with, the more noise and irritating Facebook style behaviour you are exposed to. This reduces its effectiveness as a news source in my opinion.

One way to address this is to use its group functionality effectively. By joining relevant groups you are able to refine your content and focus on areas where the information is more relevant to you.

There are lots of good procurement options to research. We’ve assembled a great community around the procurement tech’ market which you are welcome to join here: Procurement Technology Specialists

You should also take a look at Procurious if you haven’t done so already. They are a much more specialist resource for procurement pros. They are doing a great job of promoting developments in the profession through their “Big Ideas” initiative. You can register as a digital delegate for their forthcoming Big Ideas Summit in Zurich here.

This is what they’ve had to say about this event:

“For the first time ever, we’ll be filming and streaming the entire day’s event via the Digital Delegates group on Procurious. If there was ever a time to register for one of our summits, it’s now. Featuring presentations and interviews from some of Europe’s top procurement leaders, we’ll be discussing procurement and supply management towards 2030, the future of talent, automation, blockchain, diversity and so much more.”

I hope you find some of this content interesting, hopefully even inspiring, and it will help you to start thinking about the future of your career more if you haven’t done so recently. We’ll be looking at other subjects such as further education and training opportunities as this series develops, but I’d like to finish with a couple of points from me.

A great lesson I learnt a few years ago when Simon and I started the business was to “begin with the end goal in mind”. So I’d advise that you start by developing a vision of where you see yourself career wise in say five or 10 years.   Then try to work out a plan for how you are going to achieve your goals using all the resources available to you in the modern world.

Finally, some thoughts on what I’m going to focus on myself for my personal development. At the aforementioned Basware event I particularly enjoyed the keynote speech from respected “Futurist” Rohit Talwar. He’s inspired me to look further into the future about what’s next in business technology so I’ve just started one of his books – The Future of Business.

Here’s one of his presentations on YouTube – he’s well worth watching.

Also having really enjoyed my recent public speaking engagements I’ve decided it’s time for us to take the next step and do some video content for our website for the first time. I’ve challenged my colleagues to join me so watch out for our vlog debuts in January. Filming starts just before Christmas. Should be an interesting challenge!!

My next article in this series will be in January. Please let me know if you’ve got any questions that you would like me to address (confidentially of course!!!) via andrew@edburydaley.com I’m also interested to hear about what you are doing in terms of your professional development.

Alternatively follow us on Twitter or Linked In.

If you’ve found this article useful, you REALLY need to read our Procurement & Spend Management Insider report. It’s designed to give you an insight into the employment market conditions for your skills, so it really would be remiss of you to miss it! You can register to download the latest edition here.

Andrew Daley

Director, Procurement & Spend Management

New Procurement & Spend Management Insider due for publication

Early November will see the publication of a new edition of The Procurement & Spend Management Insider.  It tells us that “we live in a period of significant change with uncharted waters ahead of us.  Times are changing, politically, economically and technologically.  All of these considerations have implications for the procurement profession.  They present both new challenges and exciting opportunities.”

The report, widely viewed by the procurement and spend management professions as the leading analysis of its kind, will tell you what we are hearing and seeing from our unique vantage point as specialist recruiters and thought leaders working at the forefront of the developments in the profession.

We will address several key issues including:

  • All the latest news from the procurement technology sector
  • Observations on recruitment market trends including procurement leadership, the interim market, procurement technology and consulting
  • The impact of Brexit on the job market and procurement profession
  • Views on the recent Procurement Technology events and the subjects discussed
  • Thoughts on the future of the procurement skill set
  • Advice on how to progress your career in an automated world. 

There are several easy ways to get access to the report as follows:

Download the last version published March here, you’ll automatically be added to the mailing list.

Follow us on Twitter or Linked In and watch out for our posts at the end of the month.

Email us at info@edburydaley.com asking for a copy.

Procurement Leaders – The Talent Attraction Reality – Part 2

In our previous article on this subject, my colleague Simon Edbury wrote about the opportunities that exist for procurement functions to help improve their organisation’s approach to Talent Attraction.

I thought it would be valuable to share an example of best practice in recruitment to illustrate the benefits it can bring, benefits which beg the question “why do so many procurement functions continue to apply an old school methodology to how they manage their recruitment spend” because that’s what we still see in our day to day work.

At Edbury Daley we have had a clear message to the market for some time now and in simple terms, it reads like this:

There is a talent shortage in most areas of the procurement technology marketplace so if you want to hire the best people you need to start thinking differently about how you approach your recruitment.

It’s a message that the clients who value our service really understand and it is best demonstrated by the procurement solution providers that we recruit for and their customers who need key skills to reap the rewards of their investment in the technology available.

With greater emphasis being put on the digital procurement skill set, these market conditions are going to get more acute and that’s one key reason why we are committing ourselves to that area. It’s the future of procurement and companies that are serious about hiring those skills will need our sort of expertise if they want to achieve their recruitment objectives.

In our recent Insider report, we talked about the market conditions for these sorts of in-house appointments. Here’s what we had to say:

One area that … may lead to growth in in-house procurement technology roles is Spend Analytics.

We are seeing more evidence of dedicated roles in this area having worked some interesting projects ourselves and heard about others that have been advertised or made through internal appointments.

A typical example would be that of an organisation already using one or more elements of a broad platform, for example, S2C, P2P, contract management etc. and therefore capturing plenty of potentially valuable data but not using it effectively.

By appointing a specialist to review the existing landscape, assess the available data and formulate a strategy to implement an effective Spend Analytics strategy, procurement leaders are starting to realise the value available in the data.

In making these appointments we are considering people from both the procurement profession and from much broader data science backgrounds depending on the preferences of the hiring managers.

However, we are still at the stage where we have more conversations with leaders who are planning in this area than those who are able to instruct us to start the hiring process.

The aforementioned appointment of a Procurement Data Lead for a FTSE 100 pharma company was an excellent example of a client investing in its supplier relationship to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. Here’s what they did that ultimately made the difference:

They consulted with us at the very beginning of the process when scoping out the role. This enabled them to:

  1. a) understand the availability of the required skills
  2. b) assess the likely cost in terms of salary
  3. c) set realistic expectations within the business about the choices available to them.

They then worked with us to develop a realistic job specification for the role featuring both essential and desirable skills/experience. I believe our guidance here was very beneficial to the client.

We then helped them develop the go to market strategy for this role which would arm us with the ammunition required to convince both active, and more perhaps importantly passive job seekers, that this was a role offering a great career opportunity and therefore worthy of serious consideration

They gave us exclusivity on the recruitment process which incentivised us to go the extra mile in candidate sourcing, confident in the belief that our time and effort would be rewarded.

So by the time we went to the market we were armed with everything we needed to attract the best relevant talent for our client and they had both a clear brief and a realistic expectation of what they could hire for the desired salary band.

The result was a successful appointment despite the relative scarcity of the desired skill set. We attribute much of the success to the partnering approach the client took with us in the planning stage of the process. It set a tone for the entire recruitment campaign that many would do well to replicate.

If your approach to recruitment would benefit from this type of approach and the use of our expertise in the procurement technology world, it would be interesting to discuss how we can help you. 

Why not get in touch via andrew@edburydaley.com

The Future of Procurement Part 3

Blog - Globe

Technology and the Procurement Skill Set 

It’s clear that we believe that the increased use of technology by procurement and supply chain presents real opportunities for the function to advance in many different ways. Based on what we hear from our attendance at various events and through the conversations we have all the time with the procurement leaders in our network, the obvious area of advancement is in the use of technology and particularly the power of the data.

So is this the area that can unlock the opportunity for procurement departments to move beyond a savings dominated agenda? Will it make their contribution more important strategically, increasing efficiency and releasing resources in the process?

We recently observed a respected leading procurement consultant saying words to the effect that future procurement teams will need to develop new skills as transactional tasks become increasingly automated due to innovation. He ventured that analytical roles will grow in importance as will the need to track the impact of the solutions otherwise “how will we demonstrate the value of the investment in the software?”

Some more thoughts from Justin Sadler-Smith of SAP Ariba on the subject of how the latest generation procurement technology/software can help facilitate the evolution of the procurement function from a savings obsessed agenda to a broader contribution for mid-market and enterprise organisations.

“Savings is the day job and still the focus for most procurement professionals. However, the actual savings reported are regularly challenged in term of P&L impact and, taken in isolation, can undermine the significant value a procurement professional can deliver. “Technology exists today to provide a single source of truth with supplier engagement across the Procurement Lifecycle.
This is either through single platform or via best of breed… the preference being the former to avoid costly and time-consuming additional integration. “It still amazes me that some organisations have still to be persuaded on the value of Cloud.

This opens up so much possibility, particular with big data and transparency. Done with the right applications, this data becomes actionable information available across the organisation to make informed decisions. This is where the procurement function can shine and deliver far in excess of questionable cost savings.

“For example, by allowing the transactional areas to be automated, Procurement professionals can now be targeted to strategic initiatives i.e. supplier risk mitigation and innovation. “Those organisations who have taken this step with utilising the latest technology have a clear competitive advantage and Procurement has a seat at the table rather than under it.”

We’ve done a lot of research on this and we believe the future of procurement is doubtless going to be shaped by data, but this means more than simply digitizing invoices. Gathering data from sources such as Aggregator, Northern Lights and SupplierIQ can allow you to build strong models when combined with your own data, but less obvious choices can have a huge impact on the efficacy of your overall forecasting too.

A good example of this is at IBM – they acquired The Weather company in order to make use of the massive amount of data they have and use it to inform clients about possible risks in the supply chain long before they become an actual issue. Utilising data in this fashion doesn’t mean replacing the whole procurement department with data scientists; at IBM they’re evolving their current procurement practitioners into consultants by making them more aware of data.

The future procurement consultant may well be a hybrid data scientist and procurement professional, and with few people in the industry with this specialism, they will be in high demand. The new generation of Chief Data Officers or Chief Digital Officers as some organisations are branding them are all about how they use the data, not just the digitising of it. Tools like Watson Analytics are going to be a big part of this and procurement needs to embrace them.

Of course procurement practitioners will still need relationship building and influencing skills as has been the case for many years, but something like AI can be hugely helpful by improving efficiency in areas like the development category management strategies. What is clear is that the procurement skill set is going to evolve further on the back of advancements in technology. There is an opportunity to use this to change the perception at board level and procurement leaders will need to decide on a strategy of how to achieve this. They will need to hire and/or train these new skills whilst maintaining a strong sense of the core skills like stakeholder engagement and strategic sourcing.

As mentioned earlier in this report, we are starting to see an increase in specialist roles dedicated to the use of data in procurement departments. It’s still a relatively rare skill set and one we would encourage ambitious procurement professionals to embrace with an eye on their professional development. We are working with The Data Science Foundation to promote procurement as an attractive career choice, particularly for their growing graduate membership. We expect our clients to benefit from this association in future as we seek out the best talent in the profession.

In case you missed it:
Future of Procurement Part 1 – Brexit
Future of Procurement Part 2 – Procurement CSR

And if you’d like to read the full Insider report you can download it here.

 

 

Procurement Leaders – The Talent Attraction Reality

We attend a lot of procurement conferences and events and as a result we hear a lot of CPOs talk about their businesses, their priorities and their objectives.One of the common themes is the attraction and retention of talent.

In a recent report on the Future of Procurement by SAP Ariba they quoted some interesting statistics: 63% of procurement leaders do not have an established talent management strategy. The main barriers to achieving organisational efficiency enabled by digital procurement are:

Lack of data – 23%
Budgetary restrictions – 19%
Lack of internal talent/knowhow – 17%
Shortage of external talent – 13%

So when you combine the two figures for talent shortage (internal and external) you get 30% which effectively makes it the biggest barrier to organisational efficiency.

So CPOs are making all the right noises about the importance of people but what is the reality?

Or to put it another way, is procurement making savings or adding value in the recruitment process?

Procurement has gained significant savings in the recruitment category over the past 15 years. The implementation of PSLs and the leverage of the company’s buying power yielded easy wins. But with many recruitment companies now operating at tight margins the opportunity for further savings seems limited.

In light of this Procurement needs to add value to the business in terms of supply of recruitment services. Rather than view recruitment as a commodity to be bought mainly on price is there opportunity to find value? Let’s not forget, barely an annual report is published without a CEO reminding us that ‘people are our greatest asset’. So why is such a business critical category reduced to the lowest common denominator?

The commonplace commoditisation of recruitment is underpinned by the binary perception that a vacancy is simply either filled or not filled. Therefore it is just a question of filling the position for the lowest possible cost. To move away from this view requires insight in to time to hire and performance of the new recruit over a sustained period of time.

The first variable is easy to measure but a little harder to evaluate, particularly for highly specialist positions where the potential candidate pool is small. For example it’s unreasonable to compare time to hire for an office based admin position, where the candidate pool is huge, to time to hire for a rare skill set position, where only a handful of relevant candidates exist in a given geographical region.

Nevertheless, the recruitment supplier’s ability to find and place candidates as quickly as possible undoubtedly has a clear value to the hiring company, therefore should be part of the supplier selection criteria.

The second variable is the performance of the new recruit over a period of time. Anecdotally, most senior managers will know who their star team members are and who are only just meeting the minimum performance requirements. However, turning this into quantifiable data is a real challenge. And how often does the senior manager trace back the origins of the high performer in terms of which recruiter sourced the candidate, and then use this information to influence the choice of recruitment supplier going forward?

The typical PSL based contingency recruitment supplier arrangement serves to reinforce the commodity view. By instructing, say, three agencies on a vacancy using the ‘no placement, no fee model’ urgency is created amongst the suppliers. This helps minimise time to hire as the agencies race to ‘win’ the fee but incentivises the suppliers to submit only candidates they can access immediately rather than seek the best possible fit for culture and performance potential which may be a little more time consuming. In other words the long term value to the business may well have been sacrificed for speed.

Much is made by forward thinking procurement leaders of supplier relationship management. By forming a true partnership with suppliers they can create an opportunity for collaboration and innovation that benefits both supplier and customer. Examples cited often come from the procurement of components or raw materials but could this extend to recruitment services?

We have written many articles on how companies can improve their talent attraction, streamline their selection processes and get a deal done with the right candidate. Our knowhow and experience has the potential to be a game changer for a customer looking to be better. Will procurement embrace that opportunity?

The Future of Procurement Part 2

Procurement CSR – can procurement be a force for good? 

Our team attended a very interesting presentation by Peter Smith from Spend Matters at eWorld in which he asked how procurement can be a force for good? Reflecting on his career  in the profession, Peter talked about various areas where procurement can influence decisions beyond cost savings that have a much broader impact on organisations. One of the opportunities he talked about for procurement to have real influence is in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) which is of course a vital area for many retailers and manufacturers.

Our Head of Research, Sharmina August, also attended a very informative presentation by Andy Davies of the London Universities Purchasing Consortium, in which he stressed that procurement and supply chain professionals really can have a positive influence on people’s lives if they take the opportunities that are open to them. We asked him for this thoughts for this report.

He told us: “Procurement and supply chain professionals have the opportunity to help millions of people who are trapped in conditions that threaten their human rights.“Technology allows for far greater transparency in supply chains than ever before, and ignorance of slavery is no longer a valid excuse. It’s not about cancelling contracts with suppliers who have poor employment practices, but working with them to manage the risks, improve conditions and lift workers out of slavery. Truly, procurement can and should be a force for good.”

The issue of child labour and modern slavery is actually much bigger than many of us realise. There are currently thought to be 21 million people in forced labour around the world right now. That’s double the number of people taken from Africa to be enslaved between 1698 and 1900. There are no official numbers for how many people are victims of modern slavery in the UK, but the National Crime Agency believes the number to be in the tens of thousands. The introduction of the Modern Slavery Act in 2015 resulted in all companies turning over £36M+ in the UK producing Modern Slavery Statements.

However it is fair to say that the extent of action in these statements varies significantly: at one end of the scale you have the likes of the John Lewis Group, spending thousands of pounds per product ensuring the supply chain is ethically sourced, and at the other you have the many companies who have a paragraph explaining that they’re asking their suppliers to make sure everything is above board.

Adidas is another organisation that has taken huge steps to eradicate forced labour from its supply chain by focusing on both its Tier One and Two suppliers. They been have consistently ranked as an industry leader by KnowTheChain, a valuable resource for companies and investors to understand and address forced labour risks within their global supply chains.

The role of procurement is no longer just about cost cutting, it is now about value in every sense of the word. Cynically, it can add greatly to a company’s image and manage its risk, but on a deeper level it can make a huge difference to the lives of some of the world’s most disadvantaged people. Peter Smith told us: “There are many ways procurement can contribute to these agendas – which of course can also benefit our own organisations as well as the wider world. Modern Slavery has rightly had a lot of focus recently – but whether it is issues of provenance in buying raw materials, the use of plastics, or global warming, what happens in our supply chains is critical and procurement can, therefore, have a real influence and be that force for good in many different ways.”

The future procurement practitioner will need to be able to combine their company’s procurement needs with their CSR requirements. Supply chain technology is making this an easier undertaking, and as there are few specialists in this area, it is definitely an area in which existing practitioners need to evolve to meet demand.

We asked Justin Sadler-Smith of SAP Ariba: “How can technology contribute to procurement being a force for good?” He told us: “Procurement can harness the power of sourcing and purchasing technology to ensure that when they do assess and select suppliers, they do so against clear CSR requirements.

For example, if they have access to a Supplier Network, this job is made easier both in terms of time and selection. “The more buying organisations that access the network with these requirements then create a huge surge in demand for compliant suppliers to provide transparency in their supply chains and ensure they are taking adequate steps to stop slavery, child labour, exploitation etc.“This then really shows the value Procurement can deliver… not only mitigating risk in your business, but also positively impacting the world.”

Another example of where procurement and supply chain technology can have a positive impact is the environment. Christophe Hinfray, Vice President at TK Blue Agency, which helps companies measure and reduce their environmental footprint while reducing their cost, told us: “Recent progress in Big Data and real time device tracking systems allow Supply Chain Managers to better track the situation worldwide, pilot complex activities and optimise performance as never before. Cost reduction is only one of the benefits, together with improved customer service and, last but not least, reduced pollution and CO2 emissions.”

Of course, senior roles in CSR exist in a lot of big organisations but we don’t see many examples of procurement departments employing specialists in this field. Is it time for more investment in this area?

In case you missed it, Part 1 of our Future of Procurement series of articles took a look at Brexit and in Part 3 we’ll review Technology and the Procurement Skill Set.

And if you’d like to read the full Insider report you can download it here.

Movers and Shakers

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Leadership change at SAP Ariba EMEA

The big news in the sector so far this year is that Paul Devlin, EMEA General Manager of SAP Ariba left the business just before Easter. Devlin was a highly respected leader with a strong sales background and great passion for working closely with his customers. He was a key part of the growth of Ariba in Europe since the SAP acquisition and will be a significant loss to the business.

His move to Edenhouse keeps him firmly in the SAP Ecosystem and it will be interesting to see if they enter the Ariba market under his influence to supplement their strengths in SAP and specifically Success Factors.

However, the business has moved to restructure the sales function under new global leader Pat McCarthy who is highly regarded, particularly in the US. McCarthy reports into the President Barry Padgett who took over after Alex Atberger’s move to SAP Hybris at the end of 2017.

The excellent commercial team assembled by Devlin is part of his legacy to the business, and in former Emptoris stalwart Justin Sadler-Smith, the business has a very experienced leader in the UK. His background will make him the ideal person to leverage the huge potential of their partnership with IBM on cognitive procurement.

Justin’s boss Dean Pathak continues to lead Northern Europe with Patrick Hyati leading the southern half of the continent. Both have impressive teams including a newly appointed Sales Director in France.

In terms of consulting, implementation and customer success, there has been some senior level restructuring rewarding a number of high performers with bigger roles.

In summary, SAP Ariba looks as well set to attract and retain both enterprise and midmarket customers as ever despite the departure of Devlin.

Shares rise as Coupa hits profitability

There’s also a positive outlook at Coupa where they have reported a first quarterly profit and a healthy share price which is bucking trends in US markets weighed down by a potential trade war.

Diginomica reported that “Coupa announced a strong end to their fiscal 2018 as the spend management firm turned in its first non-GAAP quarterly profit of $884,000, on revenues up 41% year-on-year to $53.8 million. Subscription revenues were 46.6 million, up38% year-over-year and comprised 87% of total revenue.”

CEO Rob Bernshteyn commented: “From a financial perspective, just three short years ago, over 75% of our new subscription revenues came from our core procurement applications. But today, that figure is less than 50%, with more and more coming from expense management, invoice management, supplier information management, and a host of other key offerings.”

Coupa lost an established, well respected European leader in Alex Kleiner last year. Their European Marketing Director Carina Hoogeveen also left, following Alex to Apptus. Both have since left Apptus with Carina joining Icertis, the cloud based contract management business who have been hiring aggressively in the UK in past six months.

In our last report we covered the news that long time European GM Gerard Dahan had left Ivalua to join Determine last September. Ivalua moved to replace him with Franck Lehereux joining from JDA Software early in 2018.

Acquisitions & Mergers

There have also been significant changes in ownership in the sector, most notably Jaggaer’s acquisition of BravoSolution and what was effectively a reverse takeover of Perfect Commerce by Proactis.

It’s still relatively early days for both newly formed organisations. There were a number of departures at BravoSolution in the US shortly after the deal was announced but the European businesses are largely untouched so far in terms of headcount. Given Jaggaer’s relatively small presence in Europe prior to the deal, this seems sensible.

It will be interesting to observe if there is any further restructuring, redundancies or senior hires, and of course how they intend to align the various technology offerings now available in both
newly merged companies.

More recently Advanced Solutions acquired Science Warehouse for £16m as part of their ambitions to grow its portfolio of cloud based solutions. Science Warehouse has an established client base which is at its strongest in the UK public sector including the NHS and various Universities.

This article was originally published as part of our Spring 2018 Procurement and Spend Management Insider Report. To read the full report click here.

The Future of Procurement Part 1

This article is an excerpt from our Spring 2018 edition of The Procurement & Spend Management Insider.

At the recent eWorld event a number of the presentations attended by our team made reference to the issue of the procurement profession fighting to move on from the savings dominated agenda to make a meaningful contribution in the other areas that procurement leaders covet. This has long been a discussion topic at many procurement events. Regular readers of this report will know that Edbury Daley is passionate about working with clients who are committed to recruitment best practice. Our clearly stated philosophy is: We recruit for companies that need the best talent in procurement technology and spend management, companies that take their recruitment seriously and invest in finding the right people.

However, if we look at our own experience of when procurement departments formally drive the selection process for recruitment suppliers, a high percentage of tender processes are still completely tactical in their orientation. We believe many were poorly thought out and were clearly savings focused to the exclusion of any real opportunity to add value. There is a lot of talk about talent attraction as a priority in all the CPO surveys from the leading consultancies, but the reality is often different. This contrasts with our positive experience of working with technology companies offering procurement solutions.

Vendor management is also typically poor. Recruitment processes are often lacking agility and are rarely designed around talent attraction. The golden rules defined from our research are consistently broken by many major organisations. The reality is that it’s all about the savings for most companies. So in this section we consider three of the opportunities that exist for procurement to prove its value beyond cost savings and the skills required to do it.

They are:
1. Brexit
2. Procurement CSR
3. Technology & The Procurement Skill Set

BREXIT

At the recent eWorld event Andrew Daley chaired a discussion workshop entitled “Preparing for Brexit – Changing demands, skills and supply chains.” The session was fully subscribed with delegates from a wide variety of sectors. We expected a lively discussion about Brexit contingency planning across the audience. What we actually found was that most delegates worked for organisations who had done little or no planning, and were attending to find out what everyone else was doing. Their reasoning was perhaps best summarised by this: “We are taking our lead from politicians so we’re not sure what to plan for. We are likely to get a transition period, so we’ll deal with it then.” Thankfully there were some interesting contributions from those that have engaged in some meaningful contingency planning.

Labour mobility was the area that had received the most attention so far in this particular audience. One delegate from the biotechnology sector mentioned that 70% of his organisation’s labour are EU nationals. They are understandably concerned about this. His organisation is exploring what that will mean for their ability to manufacture and distribute post-Brexit. He also talked about EU funding post 2020 – that’s their other big concern as well as losing top scientific talent to EU member states. But not that there’s much the procurement and supply chain can do about that.

Another delegate from the FMCG sector made reference to a high percentage of semi-skilled EU labour in their operations being a major concern for them. A delegate from a major financial services company talked about them working to engage EU employees to promote greater loyalty in key parts of their customer services operation. The most comprehensive planning had been done by the aforementioned FMCG company and we were fortunate to have their procurement leader in the audience. He offered the following insights into their planning.

They had analysed the various different potential post-Brexit scenarios, weighing and ranking the options in terms of the likelihood. The options ranged from a U-turn seeing the UK stay in the EU, through to a hard, no deal Brexit where we crash out onto WTO regulations. They have ranked a free trade agreement after a transition period as the most likely option giving it a 50% likelihood. Their worst case scenario was a diamond hard Brexit which they ranked at 10% likelihood. It is that particular potential outcome that has been driving much of their contingency planning. Interestingly the procurement leader in question has been attending a number of supply chain conferences to research and assess the approach by companies facing similar challenges. He concluded that those with goods coming in from the EU to be sold in the UK are doing the most planning. One notable FMCG company supply chain leader had confided in him that their planning for a hard Brexit included moving their operations out of the UK. A common view from others went something like “it’s not a problem, we’ll just hold more stock,” but it was pointed out that if you haven’t done any planning how are you going to find that situation in 2019/20. The problem with waiting for the transition period is that you’ll be at the back of the queue for things like extra storage space and it will undoubtedly cost more given rising demand.

This is an opinion backed by commentary in recent articles in the CIPS magazine Supply Management which focuses on the likelihood of suppliers raising prices in response to the crippling cost of Brexit. One survey said that 32% of firms have already increased prices whilst another survey shows that 41% of respondents plan to increase their prices “to offset the potential costs of Brexit.” In another article entitled Analysis and preparation key to tackling Brexit Supply Management observes that Mark Chadwick, director of business services for consultants Fusion 21 said: “Although uncertainty caused by Brexit had made it harder for teams to control costs, early stage analysis would help businesses prepare for any circumstances.” He is quoted as saying: “Putting a lot of effort now into understanding the wider environment your suppliers are working in and what’s affecting them and what pressures they are facing will best prepare you for what you might be asked in the future.” “We found that if you don’t do that analysis and preparation you’re often going to find that you’re on the back foot and that you’re really starting to react to situations as they emerge rather than being proactive and trying to manage those situations.”

There is a different view of course. At eWorld Andrew Daley asked one experienced procurement practitioner in the audience, who has an established consulting business, what his clients were doing to prepare. He offered the view that many aren’t sure what they are planning for so why devote resources to it? For some, they view the transition period as an opportunity to make the necessary changes and many view the whole scenario as “Y2K again” as he put it. It was fascinating to hear the views of people working for companies taking a view at either end of the spectrum on this subject and it’s something we’ll continue to monitor through conversations across our network and by attending industry events. Our view is that Brexit offers a unique, once in a generation change which is likely to have huge impacts on international supply chains. It, therefore, offers both procurement and supply chain professionals an opportunity to have real influence in areas that go beyond savings. Why not take that opportunity to move procurement and supply chain up the boardroom agenda? We also asked the audience at eWorld if procurement professionals need to develop any new skills to deal with these changes, but we struggled to generate any meaningful contributions on the subject. We have been asking ourselves at what point in time will we start to see roles that focus on Brexit contingency planning.

If or when it does happen what skills will they require? The approach of our FMCG leader mentioned above is perhaps the most interesting example so far that of modelling the various scenarios, allocating resources accordingly and then researching and preparing to act. It should also be noted that this particular leader is attending as many professional events as he can to learn as much as possible from his peers and then passing this learning onto his team.

Is it time to get yourself to the next procurement or supply chain professional conference?

In Part 2 of our Future of Procurement series of articles we’ll review Procurement CSR and whether procurement can be a force for good. And if you’d like to read the full Insider report you can download it here.

 

48 hours at the World Procurement Congress: what did it mean to me?

Blog Pic Procurement Leaders

My objective was twofold. Firstly, it was an investment in my education on our customers’ priorities. I was looking for a window into their world. What are the hot topics for CPOs and what are the solution providers doing to address those objectives? What does innovation look like in day-to-day terms, minus the acronyms and buzzwords?

Secondly, it was about extending our already mature network of procurement leaders. This is the foundation of our business and requires constant energy to keep our competitive advantage.

For those who haven’t attended the World Procurement Congress before the event is slick with a very high level of attention to detail. The delegate list is very strong in terms of seniority with around three quarters being ‘head of’.

Everything is geared around breaking the ice in the networking areas from a meet and greet app function to careful positioning of exhibitors stands to optimise opportunities to start a conversation.

From my observation it works. Between presentations there was a constant buzz of chatter with very few delegates hiding away on their phones. The meet and greet app is a great idea that just needs to gain traction through familiarity. Most people were happy just to go old school and offer a handshake and smile to start a conversation.

From the many headline presentations, panel discussions and roundtables I attended a clear theme emerged; how can procurement create value for their companies beyond savings and how can technology support that objective?

Examples of this included improving supplier relationships to encourage innovation, use of technology to increase supply chain visibility to address reputation of suppliers or using working capital solutions to improve the supplier’s financial health.

Times are changing quickly and even the trailblazers in change are still on unfinished journeys. They have great successes in innovation to report but know there is so much more to do.

I suspect that for many delegates in attendance their transformation has only just begun. The World Procurement Congress was a fantastic melting pot for the exchange of ideas, experiences and visions of what procurement could look like in the future.

The chasm separating companies from good candidates

Blog - Keyboard Edbury Daley

Some years ago our very own Peter Brophy wrote a couple of articles about the chasm separating companies from good candidates. In those articles Peter highlighted some areas where both organisations and the recruiters that represent them can improve the chances of finding the right candidate who has a good experience during the recruitment process.

There were two parts to this:

1 – The expectations and specification of the role (the new recruit)

2 – How we treat people during the process

We wouldn’t usually feature older content, but his comments are still very much relevant today. Both articles were published at the time on the Spend Matters UK/Europe website.

Read more at: Spend Matters UK/Europe – part 1

Read more at: Spend Matters UK/Europe – part 2