The procurement team of a small UK-based pharmaceuticals company with a decentralised business model had limited influence on commercial activities. The team was dealing with several business units with very different aims and was largely tactically focused on basic procurement activities. Our task was to look at their procurement strategy.
The new Chief Procurement Officer wanted more control of their external costs through better procurement practices. His aim was to improve the overall level of capability of the procurement team, including improving idea generation, closer and more collaborative working with the business, and structuring better strategies to deliver significantly more value.
Working with the CPO, Future Purchasing created a procurement strategy that aimed to focus the procurement team on value delivery rather than simply buying products and services. We identified all current procurement improvement initiatives, interviewed senior stakeholders to capture their needs and held workshops with the procurement leadership team.
We undertook a competency assessment using our bespoke competency assessment online tool COMPASS to identify skills gaps in the procurement team and create a learning plan for each team member.
Finally, a series of targeted training workshops were set up covering category management, supplier relationship management and negotiation skills to upskill the procurement team.
The new procurement strategy ensured the procurement team was more aligned with the overall direction of the business. Equipped with enhanced procurement and influencing skills, they became more strategic in their thinking and delivered more value to the business. The procurement team’s perspectives about procurement and their impact on the business was broadened.
Future Purchasing created an energy and excitement within the procurement team, as well as more cross-functional working across categories of spend. As a result, far greater engagement with their business stakeholders was achieved, as well as significant cost savings.
In parallel, procurement line managers were trained to use a new set of coaching skills to support their teams to work more cross-functionally with stakeholders and lead category management across their businesses. The workshop sessions were structured to learn, practice and observe the following key leadership skills in the context of category management:
The function moved from a box ticking mentality to one that intelligently and collaboratively explored internal business needs and matched them with what the supply marketplace could offer.
“Group discussions provided clarity on how to move forward with category management.”
“Good to see where we have come from and a reminder of the skills we will need to become excellent category or supplier managers.”Procurement team members
About Simon Brown
30 years procurement experience in line management and
Previous employment: British Aerospace, British Airways, QP Group
Education: MBA, London Business School. BA (Hons) Business Studies.