Our colleague Philip Ideson manages the Art of Procurement blog where he recently published a quite long but very interesting interview with Tim Jones, Head of Strategic Sourcing at Google.
My interest in this interview is not to point out another example of the « Google people do it better » but to highlight the way these smart purchasers significantly improved their performance, going from a « RFP factory » to a « trusted business partner » image, by spontaneously applying what comes out from applying Value(s) thinking to Purchasing (for details in French click here) :
- Purchasers (category managers, not procurement) are there to create value for their stakeholders, which are their « internal clients », by understanding what they need and asking them what they want (there may be a difference …)
- I would just add that Suppliers are also Purchasers’ stakeholders (!) so that asking them what they want is also very efficient to create value for both (have you really tried this ?)
- Choosing the stakeholders to work with (from their importance * willingness to collaborate) enables to put the effort where it’s worth !
- Measuring the value created and managing these relationship is not that difficult : Tim Jones’ team implemented a ‘customized’ CRM to track their internal clients relations, actions, projects and results !
Why not push every Purchaser to apply the 3 Value(s) thinking key points :
- « What for ? » Better understanding the stakeholders needs, by asking them « What for do you need us ? » : obviously enhancing their own KPIs !
- « What is enough ? » Focusing on how to achieve the required outcome with limited resources, by segmentation and prioritization
- Work WITH stakeholders : as directly as possible, at least with the most important ones, internal and external !
By the way, it works not only with Purchasers, but with every corporate actor (see here for details) !!!