Procurement organisations of today differs greatly from previous generations. The Hackett Group’s Chris Sawchuk discusses changes he has witnessed in his seventeen years at the company.
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Procurious are delighted to welcome back Chris Sawchuk, Principal and Global Procurement Advisory Practice Leader at The Hackett Group, to the Big Ideas Summit 2017. Chris spoke last year about why procurement needed to put agility at the centre of all its activities. This year, Chris will be taking the conversation one step further, discussing ways to enable agility through digital transformation and creating an agile team. We chatted to Chris this week to learn more about his career, The Hackett Group’s journey and how he energises his workforce.
What should procurement organisations be focusing on in 2017?
2017 is the year of digital transformation. If you or your company isn’t yet focused on it, you will, and need to, be very soon. Companies and procurement organisations are beginning to re-imagine themselves in a digital world. They ask themselves, if I had to build the business or function today from the ground up, would it look the same?
In most cases, the answer is no. A great first step is to create awareness across the organization of the technologies that are available today and more importantly, emerging. Ask yourselves, how can these improve and augment our abilities to collaborate, predict, be agile, extract new insights…and ultimately create an advantage in the market.
Can you name a particular accomplishment that has shaped your career?
I am not sure there was a specific accomplishment that shaped my career, but a series. My career began in the highly technical and analytical field of electrical engineering at United Technologies and IBM. It shifted to more of a business focus as I completed my MBA and began a new phase of my career in marketing & sales.
This phase helped to shape and develop my people-focused skills. After some time, I found myself desiring to combine the analytical skills in my early career with the people-focused skills I developed in marketing & sales and this led me to consulting.
Having worked in consulting and specifically on procurement & strategic sourcing for many years, The Hackett Group provided an opportunity to help augment their project focused benchmarking and consulting business. This involved building a global member based advisory business that would provide an opportunity to develop unique intellectual property and research.
After more than 10 years, I am still engaged in that business; leading it’s sourcing & procurement efforts globally.
What skills/talents contribute to an all-round, great team?
- Diversity in thinking and background
- Willingness to collaborate and share
- Similar levels of motivation and drive
How do you energise your millennial workforce?
Understanding that it can be challenging to energize your millennial workforce through traditional advancement opportunities. We need non-traditional methods, particularly in an environment of accelerated millennial expectations. If you agree that millennials are energised by change and new opportunities, then we need to focus on ways to energise them in an environment where upward mobility may be more limited in an era of flatter organizations.
We challenge individuals with developing new client services, new process focus areas, etc. The real difficulty is balancing. We are in a global environment that expects consistent improvement in how we deliver value to clients whilst also delivering new value. Whilst this is difficult, it does provide the opportunity for change that energises millennial workforces…and beyond.
You’ve worked at the Hackett Group for seventeen years. In what ways have you seen procurement organisations develop over this time?
Wow, great question. As they say, it’s not your father’s procurement. Today, we focus much more on business enablement. As you see, I didn’t say “spend cost savings”. Now, saying that, we still have a long road ahead of us. I truly believe if we look at what we do through the business success lens, we will be successful.
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