Tag Archives: beta

5 Top Tips For 2021 Procurement Planning – It’s Not What You Do, It’s How You Do It

How can a few tips in the short term fundamentally change not just your long-term plans, but the way you plan altogether? Our Principal Advisor Helen Mackenzie writes.


Are you starting to plan for 2021 and what the next phase could be for your category or your team? Are you pondering what the future might hold and how to prepare? 

Planning in time-horizon chunks, being in a “perpetual state of beta” and measuring your performance twice a week are just five of the ideas a group of senior US procurement leaders recommended for guiding your 2021 strategies at a recent Procurious Roundtable.

1. Time Horizon Chunks

Terence Mauri, founder of the Hack Future Lab urged us to think in time-horizon chunks.  “Think about what’s probable for your business, suppliers and supply chains in the few next years? What could be plausible in a decade’s time?  And then stretch that time horizon still further to envisage what could be possible in 20, 50 years’ time.”

2. Perpetual State of Beta

Mauri believes that our default mode of operation needs to be “a perpetual state of beta”.  Referring the 4-24 Project, a movement seeking to encourage a questioning mindset, Mauri issued a challenge, “What’s the bravest question you can ask right now?”  Could we start to prepare effectively for the post-Covid world by asking:

·  why are procurement processes complex not simple?

·  what do our stakeholders really need from us?

·  can we collaborate with our suppliers in a more effective way and build trust?

But being more disruptive in our thinking requires practical application on the ground.  And that’s where insight from Alex Saric, Ivalua’s Chief Marketing Officer at the Roundtable was invaluable.

3. Measure what Matters

 “If we measure what matters”, advised Saric “that means we won’t let near term pressure derail long term direction.”  He cited evidence from research undertaken by Ivalua and Forrester earlier in 2020 to prove his point:

The majority of high performing procurement organisations measure key performance indicators twice a week.

Not once a month, not quarterly, but bi-weekly.  And the reason is that those KPIs are used to measure success and – importantly – to course correct when targets linked to long term direction aren’t being achieved.  A great way to operate whether the pandemic is with us or not.

4. Strategic Not Tactical

And thinking about the way ahead, forward-thinking CPO Gareth Hughes from UK based Whistl, urged us to put the strategic, rather than the tactical, at the heart of our team structure.  Gareth’s version of the perpetual state of beta is to dispense with category management, and “do the procurement that the business needs”.

By deploying a team with commercial focus, a curious nature and fine-tuned stakeholder engagement skills.  Hughes urged CPOs to stay strategic, “Measurement needs to focus on commercial outcomes and increasing speed.”…

People remember you for the 80% of things you do well so make sure they’re the things that matter!

5. Promote and Measure Diversity

And keeping the focus on teams and people, our final speaker Naseem Malik, urged a focus on promoting and measuring diversity as a way to demonstrate procurement’s value post-covid.

Observing that procurement and supply chain continues to have the C-Suite’s full attention Malik urged CPOs to “Leverage your team’s supplier diversity expertise to help guide your organisation’s wider diversity efforts”.  And, of course, measure the impact.

So preparing and navigating through the post covid period may be more a question of how we do it, rather than what we do.  And whether it’s the quest for the perpetual state of beta, high performance or being more diverse, the key as always is to measure it and to measure what matters.

If you would like to find out more about Procurious Roundtables and the 2021 program email [email protected]