As per our last post on the subject, Procurement does not exist to buy stuff (which was its origins, but thanks to the Internet, everyone can buy stuff), but to provide value to the organization. But the identification of organizational value is not always straight-forward. Every organization is different, and every Procurement function has a different level of organizational maturity. As per the classic Hackett Hierarchy of Supply, a supply organization could still be at the level of supply assurance, could have moved on to analyzing landed cost, may have begun its entry into the modern era with an analysis of TCO, might be poised to become a leader with a foray into demand management, or, and this is the highest level of maturity, may be focussed on the art of value management.
But delivering value first requires understanding what value is to the organization (and how Procurement can contribute to it) and then requires getting a mechanism in place to repeatedly deliver that value at regular intervals. There are various mechanisms that can be considered, but regardless of the mechanism you choose (and whether it is process-based, platform-based, or a hybrid approach), it needs to be powered by an engine. And in particular, that engine, which needs to keep on churning out value like a real engine keeps churning out power, needs to be efficient and effective.
One has to keep the productivity plateau in mind. An organization that only focusses on efficiency will, at best, fail slowly. Similarly, an organization that only focusses on effectiveness will, at best, survive. But what an organization really wants to do is excel, and that requires the right intersection of efficiency and effectiveness. In particular, the organization has to focus on effective goals, implement them as efficiently as possible, and then use the savings to take on even more effective goals.
So how does a Procurement department improve its productivity? Generally speaking, the Procurement organization increases its value (for money, VfM), and the basic formula for that is simple:
Value Increase = Reduce Input + Increase Output + Reduce Energy
while focussing on categories important to the business
And how can it do that? In a category-agnostic way, it can:
- reduce demand
- increase Spend Under Management (SUM)
- decrease contract costs
- increase contract compliance
- decrease storage and utilization costs
- reduce risk
And how can it do this efficiently? In a general way, it can:
- implement systems to improve cycle times
- implement processes to reduce maverick spend
- manage market dynamics better
And how can it translate the general to the specific? That’s a harder question to answer, but one that is addressed in considerably more detail in a new white paper co-authored by the doctor and the procurement dynamo, sponsored by Pool4Tool, on how to Boost Your Procurement Value Engine. Part I of a II-part series (with Part II coming out in Q3), this paper will give you the insights you need to understand the various levers you have to deliver true value and how you can do so in an efficient, effective, and sustainable manner.