Category Archives: Procurious News

Procurious Big Idea #46 – Shift Perceptions Of Contractors

Samantha Coombs, Consultant at Procuri, talks about why procurement managers should change their perceptions of contractors.

Samantha argues that by communicating better with these workers, managers can stop them being a transient workforce and start to benefit from their knowledge.

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6 Ways to Make Savings Stick

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The last article I wrote on The Faculty’s latest research paper ‘Making it Stick’ was very well received by you all, in fact, its one of my most read posts on Procurious. This strong response has encouraged me to dive back into the report to look for more gold.

As the report clearly states, more than 50 per cent of savings that are negotiated and contracted by procurement teams are not actually being realised in company accounts.

That figure staggers me a little more each time I read it.

Today I am going to outline the tips that The Faculty has suggested organisations take in order to ensure their savings stick.

1. Prove it

Savings come unstuck when projected benefits are not realised. As procurement teams, our role extends beyond merely drawing up contracts and holding negotiations with suppliers to lock-in preferable rates.

We have to take some responsibility for these savings eventuating, and this involves providing a road map for users to realise these savings and presenting management with a plan as to how savings will be captured and reported.

2. Collaborate

The great work done by procurement teams in negotiating favourable rates and contracts comes undone immediately if our internal customers in other parts of the business are not on-board with our new initiatives.

Only by creating a cross functional environment where the value of procurement’s work is clearly demonstrable to others in the business can we hope to get buy-in for our initiatives and ensure the savings we’ve promised will actually materialise.

3. Expand the Focus Beyond Costs

This point doesn’t cover new ground for procurement blogs, but the old ‘value over cost’ argument is as relevant today as it’s ever been. As we’ve already discussed, building a cost conscious culture within your organisation is critical for a benefits realisation project to thrive, but when you talk to your supply base, the focus needs to shift slightly.

This point is well summed up by Mike Blanchard, the CPO at Sydney Trains, “You can only pressure suppliers on cost up to a certain point before you risk compromising on quality and service levels. The key is to seek out different types of value in supplier relationships,” he said.

4. Align to Business Targets

By aligning your benefits realisation program directly to organisational success metrics, you increase your potential for success by an order of magnitude. Structuring your program in this way will mean that when you go to the business with new procurement initiatives, you’ll already be speaking a common language.

As David Henchliffe, CPO at Santos, stated, “How procurement measures success must be aligned to what the business views as success”.

5. Define benefits

How can you hope to measure benefits if they aren’t clearly defined? When creating definitions for your benefits realisation and savings methodology, it’s critical that you involve other functions from the business.

These are your internal customers, the people that will be using your rates and the contracts you’ve put in place, so its your job to work with them to create clear transparent definitions of what savings are and how they are realised.

6. Focus on compliance

Maverick spend and other contract non-compliance is a killer for making savings stick. The gurus at The Faculty have suggested the following steps to help improve compliance:

  • Establishing enforceable penalties for compliance breaches
  • Educating end-users during the handover process about consequences of compliance breaches
  • Creating a fool proof system (such as an ERP) that minimises opportunities for compliance breaches
  • Clearly defining roles and responsibilities
  • Monitoring and controlling maverick spend through an exceptions management signoff process.

Disruptors and Global Networks in Procurement

Last week, Procurious founder Tania Seary was the special guest on a webinar hosted by Procurify, speaking on the subject of ‘Disruptors and Global Networks in Procurement’.

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If you weren’t able to join the webinar on the day, then worry not. Catch up with the full webinar below.

During the discussion, Tania highlighted some of the key facts and figures around several major forces having an impact on procurement professionals, including markets, ethics, transparency, and optionality.

She went on to explain why global networks, like Procurious, and social media are key to CPOs and procurement professionals understanding these issues and best mitigating the risks associated with them.

 

If you have any thoughts on these topics, or would like to engage Procurious to help you get your social media activities moving, get in touch with one of the team, or send us a message at info@procurious.com

5 Key Findings from the ‘Making It Stick’ Research Literature Review – Part 2

Have you read The Faculty’s Making it Stick report yet?

Sticky-Glue-Works-in-Space-Too-2

Our researchers undertook a literature review to understand the present state of play for CPOs worldwide. This is the second part of The Faculty’s article on the key findings from the literature review.

In the previous article, we discussed:

  • How benefits realisation levels are poor and remain an enduring challenge for CPOs around the globe.
  • The need for organisation-wide change management programs to address poor benefits realisation.

To wrap up the final three findings:

3. Business alignment and shared goals are integral to winning stakeholder support for identified benefits

As mentioned above, Procurement can’t drive savings all the way to the bottom line in isolation from the rest of the business. Shared goals across the organisation are absolutely essential for stamping out the culture of “somebody else’s problem” when it comes to poor benefits realisation.

Noah Costelloe (Ernst & Young) wrote in 2014: “The procurement team should not be the ‘sole owners’ of savings. Instead the focus of the team should be on facilitating and driving initiatives. They should also be accountable for the governance function through recording, measuring and reporting savings.”[1]

So, what’s the first step to creating shared goals? The answer is to ensure Procurement’s targets are aligned to those of the wider business. A report from Proxima (2015) stated that “Success in the procurement field … is a nebulous concept [because] procurement’s objectives aren’t usually clearly defined. Or perhaps, more accurately, it’s because procurement’s objectives are defined quite differently by its practitioners and the business leaders they serve.”[2]

The Managing successful programmes report already quoted above gives excellent guidance on alignment: “[Procurement must] provide alignment and clear links between the programme [benefit], its vision and desired outcomes, and the strategic objectives of the organisation involved.”[3]

4. Procurement teams are expanding their strategic footprint beyond costs through the identification and realisation of additional value opportunities.

What do additional value opportunities have to do with benefits realisation? Everything. In the Making it Stick report, “costs” are identified as the base of the pyramid, or the essential piece that must be in place before the function can move beyond transactional benefits, through commercial to strategic benefits.

If you can’t make savings stick, you won’t have the base necessary to successfully expand the value you contribute to the organisation. In ProcureCon Europe’s 2014 survey of 2,000 procurement professionals, “Total Cost Savings” still retains its place as the most popular metric for measuring the value of procurement (85%).[4]

KPMG’s The Power of Procurement (2012) reports: “Significant opportunities still remain to drive sustainable bottom line and top line value …. Procurement will need to stretch beyond savings to become a centre of value creation throughout the organisation. Executives will also need to play a part.”[5]

5. Clear definitions and categorisation of savings and other benefit types drive cross-functional understanding, shared measurements and realisation.

Without rigorous benefits definitions in place, other parts of the business with dispute Procurement’s wins. Benefits should be:

  • categorised by type
  • agreed upon with Finance
  • clear and concise
  • in plain English (not “Procurement lingo”)
  • aligned to business targets
  • linked to a clear set of measurement and validation methodologies.

To illustrate the importance of a set of definitions, consider the term ‘savings’. If you were to tell a roomful of colleagues from various departments that Procurement is focused on savings as its primary benefit, it’s more than likely that there will be multiple interpretations of what a ‘saving’ actually involves. Andrew Bartolini wrote in 2014 that “Savings [is] an inherently complex metric [with] greater disparity among the definitions used by procurement teams today”.

A 2006 report from CAPS Research found that, “Crucial to [Procurement’s] mission is the proper categorisation of the various types of cost reduction and their application to the company’s operating budgets and profit and loss measures.”[6]

The Making it Stick report contains sample definitions and measurements employed by participating organisations. Reproduced to give readers a broad set of examples to adapt for their own organisations. A concise set of definitions aids cross-functional understanding and should be developed in partnership with the wider business.

If you haven’t done so already, you can download the ‘Making It Stick’ research report here.

[1] Costelloe, Noah. Five things: getting the basics right in Procurement. Ernst & Young, 2014, p.4.

[2] Cooper-Bagnall, Jonathan, “Defining procurement success”, Proxima, June 2015

[3] Great Britain Office of Government Commerce, Managing successful programmes, Norwich, The Stationary Office, 2003, p.32.

[4] ProcureCon Europe 2014 Benchmarking Survey.

[5] KPMG. The Power of Procurement: A global survey of Procurement functions. KPMG, 2012, p.14.

[6] Ashenbaum, Bryan. “Defining cost reduction and cost avoidance”, CAPS Research Critical Issues Report 2006, p.2.

Procurious Big Idea #45 – Procurement Raising Its Voice

Cath Hill, Group Marketing and Membership Director for CIPS, talks about her idea to get procurement to raise its voice as a profession.

Procurement has long been the unsung hero in the organisation, but now it’s time to make both internal and external people aware of the great work the profession does.

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Making It Stick #4: Harry Drakos on Benefits Realisation

The Faculty Roundtable Members speak about benefits realisation and how to Make it Stick.

Hear Harry Drakos talk about Benefits Realisation in the last of four videos from The Faculty.

The Faculty Roundtable is pleased to release its new research report, “Making it Stick”, on benefits realisation for your Procurement team.

Five reasons why procurement savings don’t stick

Earlier this year, The Faculty Roundtable commissioned an investigation into best-practice benefits realisation, and its researchers have conducted a series of interviews and data analysis to unearth the factors that prevent Procurement’s savings from hitting the bottom line. The results were boiled down to five key hurdles to Making savings Stick.

Download your free copy of this exclusive research on Procurious today.

Making It Stick #3: David MacDonald on Benefits Realisation

The Faculty Roundtable Members speak about benefits realisation and how to Make it Stick.

Hear David MacDonald talk about Benefits Realisation in the third of four videos from The Faculty.

The Faculty Roundtable is pleased to release its new research report, “Making it Stick”, on benefits realisation for your Procurement team.

Five reasons why procurement savings don’t stick

Earlier this year, The Faculty Roundtable commissioned an investigation into best-practice benefits realisation, and its researchers have conducted a series of interviews and data analysis to unearth the factors that prevent Procurement’s savings from hitting the bottom line. The results were boiled down to five key hurdles to Making savings Stick.

Download your free copy of this exclusive research on Procurious today.

5 Key Findings From The ‘Making It Stick’ Research Literature Review

Making it Stick

Have you read The Faculty’s Making it Stick report yet? As part of the investigation into the challenges and opportunities presented by benefits realisation, our researchers undertook a literature review to understand the present state of play for CPOs worldwide.

There’s some excellent material out there on benefits realisation, predominantly in the IT space where organisations want to ensure they extract the full value from significant investment in technology and systems. The amount of literature confirmed that this topic is front-of-mind for CEOs, CFOs and CPOs in procurement functions all over the world.

Boiling down the literature review to a handful of key findings produced the following five recurring themes:

  1. Globally, benefits realisation levels are poor and remain an enduring challenge for organisations.

Four years ago, Aberdeen produced a stand-out piece of research that contained an assessment of benefits realisation levels across 130 organisations.[1] The Aberdeen Worldwide CPO survey found that the industry average (middle 50 per cent of aggregate performance scorers) achieved an average of only 8 per cent realised contract savings. The best-in-class (top 20 per cent) organisations had an average of 17 per cent, while “laggards” (the bottom 30 per cent) realised only 4 per cent of contract savings.

Eight per cent is a truly alarming figure and by all rights should have sent the procurement profession into a panic. To illustrate, imagine you have a staff member who works hard, seems extremely productive, yet at the end of the year, someone from Finance taps you on the shoulder and informs you that only 8 per cent of the staff member’s claimed achievements have actually made their way to the bottom line. You’d be furious, and that person’s job would be on the line. The same applies to procurement teams as a whole – this statistic brings the effectiveness and credibility of the function into question.

Findings from an earlier survey published by Gerald Bradley (UK, 2006) estimated that 10 per cent to 25 per cent of potential benefits are achieved from investment in change, costing the UK over £50bn per annum.[2] The Faculty’s own 2015 survey found an average of 50 per cent in unrealised savings across our research participants [3] – an improvement on Aberdeen’s 2011 figures, but still representing a lot of money being left on the table.

  1. Benefits realisation is inextricable from change management

The Making it Stick report makes the point that there’s no quick fix to improve benefits realisation. It requires an organisation-wide change management program to encourage shared ownership of procurement’s targets, drive cross-functional collaboration, improve end-user compliance and build a cost-conscious culture. C-level support is integral to this process to mandate change from the top.

A report from the Great Britain Office of Government Commerce entitled Managing successful programmes (2003) defined the necessity for change very succinctly: “The fundamental reason for beginning a programme is to realise benefits through change”, [4] while Gerald Bradley also framed his definition of benefits around change: “A benefit is an outcome of change which is perceived as positive by a stakeholder.”[5]

Stay tuned for part two of this article, and be sure to download Making it Stick if you haven’t already.

[1] Limberakis, Constantine G. Procurement Contract Lifecycle Management: Assessing the value of contract automation, Aberdeen Group, December 2011.

[2] Bradley, Gerald. “Why more CEOs are turning to Benefit Realisation Management”, CEO Magazine, August 2006.

[3] The higher figure is likely to be due to the relatively small number of research participants drawn from The Faculty Roundtable, with higher-than-average functional maturity across the group.

[4] Great Britain Office of Government Commerce, Managing successful programmes, Norwich, The Stationary Office, 2003.

[5] Bradley, Gerald. Benefits Realisation Management: A practical guide to achieving benefits through change, Hampshire, Gower Publishing, 2006, p.102.