Editor’s Note: Charles is founder, president and chief procurement officer of Next Level Purchasing, which offers the SPSM (Senior Professional in Supply Management) family of certifications.
Be sure to check out Charles’ Purchasing Certification Blog.
One of the common criticisms of procurement departments is that their work is too far removed from the objectives of the organization. This shouldn’t be the case, but it is.
Too often, we see complexity in translating high-level objectives to department-specific goals. Sometimes, it is due to unnecessary overthinking.
It doesn’t have to be that hard. Sometimes, when you write things out in a simplistic manner – as opposed to mapping out all of the intricate complexities – new approaches become apparent, psychological barriers to success disappear, and you can actually start executing on a plan rather than struggling with developing the “perfect” plan.
Because this column is dedicated to procurement professional development, let me illustrate this concept using a professional development example. Ponder the concept of tying objectives of the overall organization with the professional development of the procurement team.
Sounds like a there would be such great separation between the two things that it would be useless to try to draw any connection. But, when you start writing things down, you realize that it is fairly direct.
Here’s an example of five simple questions that can be used to tie procurement professional development to organizational objectives…
- What are the organization’s objectives?
- What goals can the procurement department set to contribute to the achievement of the organization’s objectives?
- What skills are required to achieve the procurement department’s goals?
- What skills are required to achieve the procurement department’s goals that are not possessed by the current procurement staff?
- What professional development opportunities are available to build the skills that are required to achieve the procurement department’s goals but are not possessed by the current procurement staff?
See, that wasn’t that complex, right?
Of course not.
Yet, some procurement departments struggle to figure out what type of professional development their team needs. And, as a result of their indecision, they end up deferring action and remained mired in the same slump that prevents them from optimizing their contribution to the organization’s objectives.
Again, it doesn’t have to be that hard! Putting together a procurement professional development plan is not rocket science.
This same approach can unlock your barriers to action in a variety of aspects of procurement. Keep the simple things simple and you will make progress!