A key part of any SRM or Category Management implementation is the education of the Procurement team in the new ways of working – this is covered in the “Learn” building block of our category management implementation approach (figure 1). We have recently worked with a number of organisations that need to maximise their return from training investment by ensuring that it demonstrably improves team member performance. Here we summarise some of the evolving education best practices that we have implemented with leading organisations.
Stakeholders do not require (and are usually not interested in receiving) the depth of education that is required by the Procurement team. However, it is critical that they receive the correct level of training/communication. Without this input, stakeholders are left unclear regarding objectives, processes and resource commitments with Category Managers spending a lot of time trying to gain traction. Our recommendations for stakeholders are:
(i) Leadership Teams:
30-60 minute awareness sessions focused on the outcomes from the new ways of working
and what input and support is required. Ideally, Stakeholders and Procurement are
jointly responsible for agreeing savings targets and delivering them – this accelerates
all engagement and delivery.
1-2 hour awareness sessions focused on why the processes are being adopted, how
they are different from traditional sourcing activity, what they consist of at a
high level, what benefits they will deliver to them and what they will need to contribute
(willingness to engage and drive change, resources etc).
(iii) Category/Relationship Sponsors and Team Members:
1-2 hour sessions focused on why the process is being adopted and that it will consist of at a high level, typical level of benefits expected, what their role and responsibilities, governance processes, timings and potential interventions they may need to make.
FP has increasingly included more behavioural skills training in our standard sourcing
skills workshops. This is in recognition that the overall delivery performance is
impaired without buy-in from stakeholders and that many Category Managers need to
improve their behavioural capabilities. Having a balance of behavioural and hard
skills training is definitely a better route to follow.
Example topics that we have delivered recently include: Becoming A Trusted Advisor; Communication Skills; Consultative Selling; Creativity; and Conflict Management. This is not generic training, but aligned with the key activities in Category Management & SRM processes and addresses the challenges and barriers that Category Managers and Supplier Managers regularly face.
During the workshop planning phase, it is important to ensure your learning objectives,
programme structure, content and style is aligned with internal Learning and Development
professionals. It is also helpful to design an education programme that uses a blended
suite of training methods and interventions.
The impact of education workshops is greatly enhanced if the full range of pre, during and post activities are considered. A checklist of potential activities includes:
Return can be assessed through three approaches:
(i) Individual Competence : Participants and their line managers use a simple competence assessment framework to agree scores prior to the training interventions. These assessments are repeated when the participants have completed their first category planning or strategic sourcing activity and the results compared. Along with the quantitative results from the category management or SRM activity, this will measure the improved capability of the participants.
(ii) Value Delivery: Track the uplift in savings/value delivered from projects that use category management versus traditional sourcing.
(iii) Business Partner Satisfaction: Track the uplift in internal customer satisfaction levels that is expected with the introduction of Category Management and SRM.
We believe that training and development should be focused on and drive high team performance. Strengthening procurement’s technical skills, as well as the full range of business and leadership behaviours, is central to everything that Future Purchasing does with its clients. We offer a wide range of innovative and inspirational learning and development programmes designed to build confidence, competence and real motivation to deliver results.
Get in touch with us here to find out more.
Author Anna Del Mar
by Anna Del Mar