Procurement Trend #25: More Stakeholder Collaboration

Twenty-two dull, swampy, trends from the days of yore still remain, so let’s go full steam ahead. The sooner we get through these, the sooner you stop getting fooled by snake-oil salesmen.

So why do so many historians keep pegging more stakeholder collaboration as a future trend, while helps poor LOLCats everywhere regress to past lives? There are a number of reasons, but among the top three today are:

  • knowledge-based outsourcing requires knowledge

    and one cannot outsource even a tactical function and expect results without an understanding of what is required for success

  • process based outsourcing requires process managers

    and one cannot outsource even basic processes, such as the regular purchase of on-contract indirect items, group purchasing of items not strategic enough for sourcing, or even building management without regular oversight of those processes

  • transitioning to better ways requires team input

    it’s hard enough for Procurement to outsource tactical Procurement processes without a solid understanding of those processes, so imagine the difficulty in helping the company outsource other back-office or front-office functions without a good understanding of those functions, which will require input and cross-departmental collaboration from other organizational team members

So what do you do about this?

Knowledge-Based Outsourcing

As per our prior discussion, you need to institute knowledge management and web-based collaboration tools ASAP to insure that all appropriate knowledge is captured, organized, reviewed, delivered, improved, and learnt from. You need knowledge to initiate the process, to manage the process, and to capture the results of the process so that it can be effectively repeated — inside or outside the organization, as circumstances desire.

Process-Based Outsourcing

As more back-office and front-office functions get outsourced, more and better change management is going to be required. When functions get outsourced, everything changes, and that change has to be managed. Not only does the transition has to be managed, but so does the process oversight, because at some point the provider might have to change or circumstances may change and the function needs to be brought back in house. The Procurement team will have to be become well-versed in change models such as Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model or ADKAR and also learn how to integrate them with team management.

Team Management

As indicated above, success is going to depend on the creation and effective management of cross-disciplinary teams that can effectively document, transition, and manage the processes being outsourced and, in some cases, being taken back in house because the wrong processes were sent out. The team will have to be become intimately familiar with team performance models, such as the Drexler/Sibbet, and become good at integrating these models with the chosen change management model.