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3 Quick Wins for New Procurement Directors

June 07, 2016 by Hillary Ohlmann

Walking into a new office can be an intimidating experience. New colleagues, a new desk, a whole new work culture. There’s a lot to take in, and feeling comfortable in a new position can take awhile. Even if you’re moving around within the same organization, you might still have to make adjustments, especially if you’re moving up into a leadership position.

quick_procurement_wins.jpgAs a new procurement director, you probably have a list of strategies you’d like to try and best practices to implement. However, making changes, regardless of whether they’re large or small, requires the support of all your stakeholders. Building rapport takes time, and for procurement directors it may be especially difficult if the rest of the organization views Procurement as an operational function with little strategic value.

The best way to get your team and upper management on board is by looking for a few quick wins to start. This gives them faith in your competence and vision and paves the way for changes down the road. Here are three areas you can explore on your search for quick wins.

Quick Win #1: Introduce Competition to Long-term Contracts

Review any contracts coming up for renewal and perhaps you’ll find some that haven’t been challenged recently. While it depends on the market situation, you might be able to improve on terms or pricing by running a competitive RFQ. Remember that an RFP or RFQ is the quickest way to get pricing feedback from the supplier market. Running a request can ensure you are indeed getting the best price available and open up the possibility of negotiating for additional value on delivery terms or quality, among other things.

Quick Win #2: Sit Down with Suppliers

Open the door to transparent supplier communication by introducing yourself to key suppliers and asking them for feedback about your organization. What did the previous procurement head do that they liked? What would they like to see improved? Even if you’re not able to make the changes they request, they will appreciate being asked, and you’ll have a better idea for ways you can improve the relationship.

Quick Win #3: Take Advantage of Technology

Typically software implementation wouldn’t be filed under the “quick win” category, as it usually brings to mind hours of training and complex integrations. However, with the advent of easy-to-use and affordable SaaS platforms, you might be able to implement time-saving tech toolsthat require very little in the way of set-up, budgets and training. As you get to know your team, ask them about everyday pain points, the little things that take up time or cause frustration as they go about their daily tasks. Then, if possible, see if there might be an app or program to make it easier. For example, if you’re team is running RFPs via email, you could switch to a cloud-based RFP tool. Or if your team struggles with internal communication, you could use a chat app like Slack. Not only will you look innovative and forward thinking, your team will thank you for streamlining their workday. 

The goal with these quick wins is to show you are a procurement head who can lead with fairness, integrity and transparency. This will build the foundation for making strategic changes in the future and go a long way towards ensuring Procurement is viewed as a valuable function in your organization.  


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Hillary Ohlmann

Written by Hillary Ohlmann

Hillary is DeltaBid's resident writer, copy editor, researcher, and all-around procurement enthusiast. She holds a degree in Journalism and Spanish from UW-Madison.


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