Starting with the EU referendum decision last year, how many of us have witnessed such a combination of global economic and political events which have created such high levels of business uncertainty.
Very few of us have ever experienced a situation like this in our business lives, yet many people from the procurement and supply chain professions believe it will fall on them to manage the inherent risk and navigate their organisations through it.
As we’ve asked in previous editions of our quarterly report on the procurement job market, do the skills exist in the profession to get this right?
It’s a question we’ve asked in the past about the implementation and use of spend management tools and now we ask it again about supply chain risk, currency hedging and all the associated considerations.
One potential source of comfort is the increasing power of technology to help organisations manage the aforementioned risk in their supply chains. For example, the latest generation of the Ariba solution will enable organisations to dig deeper into their supply chains providing all sorts of benefits.
Again the challenge is to find people with the knowledge and/or experience to really harness the power of these solutions.
Some of these issues were highlighted in the Recent Deloitte CPO Study In our opinion, this is one the foremost research studies for the procurement sector and several of their findings tie in with our comments above. Most notably Deloitte flag the following:
- The growing importance of risk management as a procurement priority
- 60% of procurement leaders do not believe they have the internal capabilities to deliver on their vision
- Talent: Whilst there is an increased requirement for leadership and digital skills there is limited change in the investment or approach to close the talent gap. With improvements in technology enabling automation, the skills of the past will not deliver the needs of the future – organisations should look to attract and develop the next generation of procurement leaders who will act as innovators, challengers, and digitally minded-thinkers.
“The skills of the past will not deliver the future” as Deloitte put it is a message we have been conscious of for some time. The profession needs to grasp this message, invest in training and development if its to continue to thrive in an ever changing world.
At Edbury Daley we work with companies who need to hire professionals with experience of leading edge technology solutions and the more advanced procurement and supply chain skills we refer to above. As a result of this work and our regular research, we know where to find and how to engage the best people in these areas in conversations about potential career moves.
If you need to hire these skills, we are the specialist recruiters who can help you succeed in a competitive market. Contact us via email@example.com
We’ve just finished our research in to the impact of Brexit and Trump on salaries and bonuses in the Procurement and Spend Management Insider.
In addition, our report covers the executive job market in corporate procurement, consultancy, spend management, and supply chain finance.
So if you are planning growth, hiring now or curious about your own career prospects the Insider will help you get the information you need.
Thanks for your reaction to our first article.
Many of you appreciated the distinction that I described between leadership and management, and a number of respondents asked us to explore a topical leadership challenge, relating to change management, and particularly applicable to procurement – effective governance.
I loathe bad governance…and I get really mad at those in business who don’t understand the role of effective governance in the procurement setting, and confuse it with authority and power.
The failure of some of the most successful organisations, and a number high-profile CPO’s, to embrace and engage the value of effective governance, is utterly astonishing.
I had a recent conversation with a colleague in the Asian group of a global procurement team, in a complex business, in which she confessed that “we don’t really invest much in getting governance right in this business”.
That sentiment is tragically endemic, and I just fail to comprehend why intelligent people, with sophisticated business and influencing skills, cannot grasp the significance of good governance.
Procurement, in a dynamic and fluid environment, requires the design and implementation of effective change.
Reliance on power and authority alone, to orchestrate that is crass and wasteful, whereas the investment in setting up good governance is always worthwhile.
Think about it like ensuring the oil is in the engine before it is first started, or, in the work setting, understanding exactly what your objectives, limitations and authorities are, prior to commencing a negotiation.
What, then, is governance?
Well, you’ll be able to find lots of definitions and opinions, but checking the word’s antonyms or opposites, is more amusing and instructive. They include impotence (not in the medical sense), incapacity, opposition, and weakness, all of which nicely help me with my proposition.
Attempting to drive change, using only your authority, is futile, in a complex and fluid organisation. Experience and history show us that engaging all legitimate stakeholders in change is essential to successful change, whether these stakeholders are in your chain of command or not.
We shall explicitly cover stakeholder engagement next time.
Meanwhile, a decent governance model will enable and mandate the steps of a change project, un-block barriers, allocate resource, provide advocacy and legitimacy for change, and importantly take a co-ordinated view across multiple work-streams in a complex change programme.
Sound too hard?
Here’s an illustration to bring the subject to life.
A de-centralised PLC with autonomous divisions decided to embrace strategic procurement, for the first time, designed and driven from the centre. A small number of categories of spend, like packaging, marketing, and IT hardware, were selected, to test the theory that the combined spend across three divisions could drive larger benefits than the individual businesses could achieve.
But, how to run these categories, when each division had its own procurement head and processes, stakeholders, specifications, pricing, suppliers, and managing directors? And each division had a different attitude to the initiative.
The answer, after a bit of trial and error, was a governance body, led by the person at the centre who had been charged with trialling the new style of procurement, supported by a change governance specialist, and including the MD’s and heads of procurement of the three participating divisions, and an internal data analyst.
Each of the heads of procurement led a category of spend, with sponsorship from one of the MD’s but not their MD.
The heads of procurement pursued their respective projects with a tailored procurement category management approach that the governance body had signed off.
Each project had a charter, a set of objectives, and a timetable, and each reported their progress against a set of agreed criteria, using a project-management RAG (Red, Amber, and Green) methodology.
Having established terms of reference for the governance body, and communicated the entire process effectively and consistently around all the divisions, the programme was out of the starting gate at a gallop, with all the players determined to illustrate their value and effectiveness to the process, and with any barriers and objections being tackled fast and constructively, as they arose.
Each category over-delivered, on value and time, and in all cases the whole was greater than the sum of the parts.
In addition though, the biggest benefit of this approach was the visible demonstration of the value of good governance, and the breakthrough of achieving collaboration between divisions who had previously managed to avoid any motivation for working together.
The example may ring a bell with some readers, and it is a model that has been replicated many times over, with local variations.
All the divisions acknowledged willingly that they could not have orchestrated the changes from the inside out, and could not have achieved the benefits that the combined effort achieved.
In the absence of robust governance, impotence, opposition, and weakness can prevail, and probably will, due to the lack of common purpose, or leadership.
In my opinion, this perfectly captures and explains why so much ‘big-ticket’ change fails to deliver in the private sector, and more visibly in the public sector, where the only motivation for change is an edict from the centre, often Westminster, and an expectation of local delivery.
Sorry folks, change just doesn’t work that way – in the private sector, we need more enthusiasm for good governance and less politics; meanwhile, maybe we need a new approach in the public sector, where government promotes good governance, to facilitate success, and maybe even an increase in capability – but I’m not holding my breath!
Our Quarterly Market Update remains the leading commentary on the UK procurement job market and has evolved into a widely respected analysis of the European spend management sector.
Following our very well received Brexit special published back in July, the third quarter analysis includes:
Comments on the impact of Brexit on the procurement job market three months after our initial analysis
Some concerning developments in both the interim and permanent job markets for procurement.
Further updates on the skills shortages in the procurement technology solutions sector.
A potential over supply of candidates for leadership roles
Commentary on the Procurement Consulting job market along with new analysis of the Supply Chain Finance and Payment solutions sectors.
Also, this quarters discussion point is Where Are The Skills That Will Support Procurement’s Evolution?
Andrew Daley was invited by Philip Ideson from the excellent Art Of Procurement podcast to discuss two of his favourite topics, Talent Attraction and Career Development, both of which should be of interest to the modern Procurement or Spend Management professional.
The Rules Of Talent Attraction should be of particular interest to any hiring manager who is focused on recruiting the best people they can find into their team. It covers key areas like recruitment processes designed to attract as well as assess strong candidates, the supply and demand of various core procurement skills and how to avoid some common recruitment mistakes.
The Strategies & Tactics You Need To Secure Your Dream Procurement Job is geared towards the procurement professionals personal career objectives. Philip and Andrew discuss the importance of networking, how you present yourself to the external job market and what skills you will need to develop to progress your career.
Both interviews have been very well received by the audience and have resulted in some excellent feedback.
If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in either interview, please get in touch directly with Andrew via firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to read more about recruitment market conditions – here’s the latest Procurement & Spend Management Quarterly Update.
Edbury Daley is widely acknowledged as the market leading recruiter in the Spend Management sector in the UK. We are now bringing hiring success to our clients across Europe.
Our recent projects have included:
- Business leaders for appointments in UK, France & Northern Europe.
- Regional sales leadership roles for Europe, Nordics, France, Italy, Sweden & UK
- Senior procurement technology consulting roles in the UK, France, Netherlands, Germany, Italy & Spain
- Project Management & Implementation appointments in England, France & Germany
We offer broad coverage of Procurement Solutions which include Analytics, Payments, Vendor Management Solutions and Supply Chain Finance.
Our international network of contacts across the procurement technology sector allied to a deep expertise in the procurement profession enable us to provide an unrivalled service. Here’s how:
- Identifying proven sales people with experience of selling to finance and procurement audiences across Europe.
- Head hunting geographically flexible Implementation and Transformation Consultants with experience of international projects.
- Building an outstanding network of EU nationals currently working in the sector wishing to move to the UK, and those already in the UK willing to work/relocate across Europe.
If you need a recruiter who understands your product, your target markets and the availability of the skills your business needs to grow then it’s time to get in touch with us via email@example.com
If you want to read our quarterly analysis on the recruitment market conditions affecting the sector, and gain evidence of our expertise in the market you can access the reports here: The Procurement & Spend Management Quarterly Market Updates.
To keep up to date with news from the sector and the career opportunities we are working on please visit http://www.spendmanagement.co.uk/ or follow us on Twitter via @SpendMgmt_UK or @EdburyDaley