Daily Archives: November 13, 2014

Procurement Trend #18. Improved Supply Management Skill Set

Fifteen anti-trends still remain but today we can take solace in the fact that we have finally finished with the “old news” anti-trends and have reached the “ongoing” blues anti-trends. While these anti-trends are still “old news”, most are only a few decades old, as opposed to some of the earlier trends we debunked which described situations encountered by many business centuries ago (which is when globalization really began).

So why do the modern historians continue to peg an improved supply management skill set as a future trend? Maybe it’s because they’ve only recently been expelled from an old-school Procurement organization into this brave new world, and this is as far as they’ve made it in their readings, but three likely reasons are:

  • technology is progressing rapidly

    and much faster than the average person can be reasonably expected to keep up with

  • the breadth of supply management continues to expand

    and new categories and responsibilities are often added to Supply Management’s (shared) purview on a regular basis

  • processes aren’t keeping up

    and Supply Managers are getting buried under an avalanche of tactical demands

So what does this mean?

Rapid Technology Progression

Your organization, and in particular, your talent, needs to keep up. Regular training is going to be required for your talent, and thus your organization to keep up. You will have to fight for this though, because despite the fact that it has been among the top three or top five concerns of most CPOs and CXOs for the past five years, the training budget is always the first budget to get cut.

Expanding Supply Management Breadth

This is a good thing, but you your Supply Management organization needs to keep up, not fall behind. The tech progression is a good starting point, the training is a good continuation, but you need to also learn other areas of the business – their language, processes, and goals so that you can collaborate with them, learn their wisdom, and, if possible, share the workload.

Processes Need to Move Out of the Past

Processes need to continually progress forward — that’s why SI is all about Transition management and not just focussed on the classic people-product-technology triangle (as it’s actually talent-technology-transition management). You will have to conduct process reviews not only on all Procurement processes, but on all related operational processes to determine if they can be made more efficient, reliable, or better, identify what new processes would look like, determine if the current technology platforms can support these new processes or if new platforms are needed, and create, and then execute on, appropriate transition plans.