Friday 30 September 2016

Success Tips for Procurement Executives

The procurement role is having a bigger influence on the strategic plans of large businesses over time, guiding decisions that yield immense value. As a result, companies continue to entrust more of their fundamental challenges and opportunities to the procurement department. With an eye to the future, procurement executives are embracing their new roles and developing strategies to advance the field further.

One of the clear methods with which procurement leaders can enhance their critical work is through good succession planning. Here are three tips to identifying and grooming your successor.

1. Develop Criteria 

First, it is important to employ one or more useful metrics to find your successor. Longevity is a classic example. The successor needs to be at the right stage in his or her career. Any candidate should have accrued significant work experience, allowing that person to hone his or her decision-making skills. Additionally, while harder to assess beforehand, expected longevity within the new position is certainly important. The new person will likely take some time to adjust fully to the new position and understand the nuances of the business. If the successor is only there for a short time without a chance to prove loyalty, the value of your hard succession-planning work is in jeopardy.

While it is important for successors to share your vision for the company, it is also useful for the successors to have an independent streak. Creative thinking allows them to thrive in the new position and potentially present new approaches to continue to improve the procurement vision.

2. Bring Them Up to Speed

Once successors are identified, train them in the key technical languages for your company, specifically financial and legal. Understanding how to liaise with the CFO and legal team will allow successors to easily streamline the procurement process. Successors will know how and when to work with these entities, so they can better align their strategy with the corporate vision. Inter-departmental disagreements are likely to decrease as a result. But when disagreements do occur, successors will know how to address them professionally.

3. Keep Your Team Updated

Keeping your team informed throughout the transition may be equally as important as the transition itself. A strong team that is behind their new leader will positively impact the work of that new leader. If the hire is in house, an appropriate strategy is to have the successor become a team leader on several projects before the change is announced. Allow the rest of the staff to buy into the leadership and skills of this person. If the person is an external hire, make sure to sell him or her to your procurement team first.

There will likely be reservations or hard feelings toward the new hire, which is understandable. Talk about their feats outside of your business, and stress how the successor can apply these strengths to improve the department and improve team dynamics.

4. Ensuring a Successful Transition

With the procurement role becoming increasingly critical to overall business success, it is more important than ever that executives ensure successful transitions. Adopting these strategies will help procurement executives successfully identify and groom their successors.