17 MARCH 2016

Doing less with less
Keith Bird, Managing Director, The Faculty

At The Faculty’s Perth Roundtable meeting in early March, one of our members made an interesting comment during a discussion about the tough economic climate: “We’ve moved beyond ‘doing more with less’ – the reality is that we are now doing less with less.”

For me, this comment was refreshingly realistic and provided plenty of food for thought. It’s an excellent example of how CPOs are managing expectations in a time of economic uncertainty while being sensitive to stakeholder needs.

With the “lean” organisation fast becoming the buzz-concept of 2016, Procurement teams across the region have been trimmed of all possible fat through restructures, redundancies and outsourcing. CPOs have generally been left with a small team of high-performers, but managers who continue to use the cliché of “doing more with less” are being impractical in this economic environment. I’ve come up with a short list of tips for working effectively with less in Procurement:

  • Understand that Procurement can no longer do everything in a lean environment.
  • Work with internal legal and governance colleagues to widen the delegation of authority of stakeholders.
  • Move transactional sourcing to BPO providers and train your team to manage this rather than having a hands-on role. Similarly, look at BPO providers who may be able to take on some of your tactical sourcing.
  • With less on their plates, the team can focus on critical sourcing initiatives to support stakeholders, meet corporate objectives, improve efficiencies and build a competitive advantage. A focus on key suppliers will enable stronger relationships, drive innovation and uncover lower-cost, value-added solutions.
  • Create and rigorously maintain a list of priority objectives. Make the decision to grow, fix, or exit any procurement activities, resources or suppliers who are not helping you achieve your organisational objectives.
  • Work smarter, not harder by developing a savvy team of multi-skilled, commercially focused professionals who are authentic in building meaningful relationships with customers, suppliers and peer networks.

The big question is whether or not the lean Procurement team has become the new norm. If and when economic conditions improve, organisations may be unwilling to allow CPOs to increase their teams back to their previous resource levels. In this case, concentrate on creating meaningful cross-function collaboration to identify strategic initiatives that deliver multi-faceted benefits across the organisation.

The Faculty Roundtable comprises of an influential group of procurement leaders who gather to share their experiences and insights, to achieve greater commercial success for their organisations. Through The Roundtable, members have access to leading-edge thought leadership and commentators, a ready supply of valuable expertise through exclusive market intelligence, as well as networking and professional development opportunities for themselves and their team members.

The Asia-Pacific CPO Forum is the region’s premier procurement event dedicated to accelerating commercial leadership at the highest level. It is a once-a-year opportunity for leading Chief Procurement Officers to engage with peers and like-minded business leaders in an intimate and interactive setting. The Forum is designed for delegates to facilitate the sharing of best practice strategies, develop innovative and responsive procurement approaches, and hear from a compelling speaker line-up of influential thinkers, eminent business leaders and commercially creative minds.

In 2016, The 9th Annual Asia-Pacific CPO Forum will held on 18th and 19th May in Melbourne, Australia. For more information contact Program Manager, Belinda Toohey, on +61 3 9654 4900 or via email.​ 

[image credit: johnrichardmartin.com]