Daily Archives: November 11, 2014

Procurement Trend #20. Increased Strategic Focus

Seventeen anti-trends still remain. And while somedays it might seem like this series will never end, we assure you it will and now that LOLCat has figured out that the best thing to do is just take a nap, dream of his grandfather’s adventures as an archaeologist cat uncovering lost tombs, and wait for the series that is regurgitating topics of his past lives, we can march on knowing that as long as other LOLCats do the same, the series will do no our poor LOLCats more harm. And in fact, when we lay bare each and every one of the futurists’ lies, you’ll be in a better position to learn the truth and seize upon the real trends that lie ahead and the opportunities they contain.

So why do the historians keep pegging increased strategic focus as a future trend? Besides asphyxiation as a result from breathing in too much of their own hot air, probably because:

  • Supply Management is still tactically focussed in many companies

    on purchase order creation, invoice processing, and other forms of paper document and contract management.

  • Supply Managers are too focussed on survival, not control

    Procurement in many companies is comparable to the Island of Misfit Toys where the toys are all wandering around aimlessly trying to figure out how to find what they need to get through another day, instead of taking control of the situation.

  • Reaction is the name of the game, but Planning is the key to winning

    but most Procurement departments spend their days reacting to requisitions, supplier mishaps, late deliveries, stock-outs, and other unplanned events.

So what does this mean?

Strategic Focus

Procurement has to acquire and implement automation management to reduce tactical focus from mundane processing to exception management to give it time to focus on more strategic sourcing tasks, category planning, process review and improvement, and other tasks that will allow it to not only find any savings it has not yet tapped but identify new sources of value to the organization.

Transition to Farming and Harvesting

When you’re just trying to survive, all of your efforts generally go into hunting and gathering to meet the day’s needs. But in order to get ahead, you have to start farming and harvesting. You have to work together and divide up the work in such a way that someone has time to focus on more long term tasks while others handle the emergency situations of the day. While Procurement cannot avoid doing what it takes to put out the fires to avoid burning to the ground, it has to regularly step back, step up, take a wider view, and come up with ways to advance its methodology and operations and implement those so it can progress towards a path of proactive strategy and not reactive data processing.

Forward Planning

Procurement has to not only look for ways to get better today, but for ways that will allow it to continue progressing in efficiency and capability and potential beyond next quarter and next year. True forward planning looks five years into the future, not five months. While it won’t be able to see that far right away, when it has truly matured as a strategic organization, it will be working on projects for the current the year, next year, and on preparing for projects that will happen three to five years in the future that take a lot of planing and preparation to get right, such as factory and warehouse relocation as a result of a supply chain redesign project.